Saturday, 14 January 2012

This is my poem about Hedd Wyn's story.


The hills of Wales are green and gold,

But the men who once walked there

Now wade through trenches in the mud

Of foreign fields where death

Stalks indiscriminate and cold.

These are fields but there will be no grain,

No harvest here but bones and flesh

As the blood mingles with the rain.

In Wales the yellow native poppy

Spangles hedgerows, unaware

Of how on Pilken Ridge the evil thud

Of shells breaks the loveliness

Of Flanders poppies, red as blood,

Crimson petals falling in the mud

With broken, dying men in awful pain,

Poppy petals mingling with their blood

And the blood mingling with the rain

Orders come from somewhere else;

Men who hold no hate for fellow men

Are herded like uncomprehending flocks

To keep a grisly rendezvous with death

Far from their native fields and fells.

Poets plead their pity and their pain,

The pen crawls on, and a slow silver vein

Of poetry seeps through Flanders mud

And flows with the blood and with the rain

Quiet and cold Arianrhod shines,

Silvering the slates of distant Wales.

But her poet is a soldier now,

Gone with the men who marched away

To a world of weary plodding boots,

bayonets and all that war entails.

Half the youth of Europe slain

In an incomprehensible war,

Where blood mingles, wasted, with the rain.

Far from the fear, the lice, the groans,

Men too old for war have read the words

Of those who face their Armageddon

In those distant, hellish zones.

And, ‘Is there peace?’ the bard intones,

Ceremonial sword raised above

The black chair under the black cloth.

The poet now is past his pain;

Black crows fly over Flanders fields

And the blood mingles with the rain.

Hedd Wyn is in print.

At last the book is a real solid hardback and not a vague dream in my head. I had a lot of help from other people including David Gardiner who, miraculously, managed all the formatting for the printers. The painting on the cover is mine but not the technicalities.