I have always been moved by poetry. I was pleased to read recently that the trend is moving back towards rhyme. It was inevitable – everything goes in cycles. I suppose taste in poetry is akin to art appreciation. We fortunately have diverse taste and those who prefer contemporary art would probably balk at the thought of impressionism, romanticism or realism as a choice of painting to honour their wall space.
Being of Welsh descent anything which leans towards theatrical sing-song expressive drama warms my heart. Rhyming poetry to me is a nod toward the romantic tales of legend and myth which I was spoon-fed by my grandmother in infancy and seems to be weaved into my DNA.
Hence my love for rhyme. It conjures fond memories of a warm fireside, hot chocolate followed by cosy bedtime stories. My treasured book A Childs Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stephenson was to me, the holy grail.
In June 2018 one of my poems “If I was Eleanora” was published in the poetry anthology “Pictures launched a thousand words.” The book contains a collection of poems by various authors based on the drawings of a teenage girl called Eleanor who lived in London during the Blitz.
The anthology is available from Crowvus Publishing. www.crowvus.com.
During ancestry research, I discovered that my Great Great Grandfather, Jonathan Reynolds (Nathan Dyfed), was an eminent Welsh Bard. He lived from 1814-1891 – he was an author, translator, and druid. Also, an ardent eisteddfodwr, the family home in Merthyr Tydfil was filled with carved Bardic chairs and druidic paraphernalia.
The more I discover about Nathan Dyfed the more I love him! He was a real character with a wonderful sense of humour – I intend to write a blog about his adventures based on newspaper articles that he wrote for the Cardiff Times back in the 1800`s. Sadly, the only photograph I have of him depicts him as a formidable looking character. His writing, much of it written in welsh, tells a different story. I wish I had known him – although through his memoirs I feel I do. So, I was inspired to write my poem `Bard of Bards` in his honour.
Bard of Bards
The blood in my veins pulses richly with song
My ancestors walked here – it`s where I belong
The valleys rise skyward to tumps cast in cloud
The breeze brings your voices – so booming, so proud
Forefathers echo, still here, yet long passed
Patriots passionate true to the last
Your loyalty weaved in the folds of this hill
In all that surround us – you resonate still
Dramatic and haunting, melodic– yet strong
My pulse beats a rhythm for those who have gone
I`m trapped in a body part English – All Welsh
Descended of poet of druid of Celt
With my heart and my spirit spiked with forerunner`s pain
My soul`s with the ancients, and the present I feign
Though my footwear be modern my feet tread the past
My ancestral bloodline, my destiny cast
So, I peer at your features I trace every line
Your eyes weak with age and the passage of time
`Neath proud medalled chest lies bold dragon heart
With a fearsome demeanour to veil humble start
Oaken grained hands gnarled with wisdom and passion
Mimic ancient etched script, in druidic fashion
Pale scriptures, blanched pages scrawled obsolete word
Archaic language of customs absurd
Your passionate writings your plaintive refrains
And this sepia image is all that remains
So, I drink in your image I soak up your prose
I breathe in your fervour the path that you chose
Bequeath me an ounce of your life lust and skill
The fiery fuelled legend which bled from your quill
Tales full of heroes and darkness and shade
Of lovers and sinners their secrets betrayed
Still strong is your presence I honour your song
A lament to your Welshness, here I now belong
The chair of the poet the seat of the Bard
Resides in my genes – softly etched on my heart.
Dedicated to Jonathan Reynolds
1814 – 1891