NaPoWriMo2015 – Myfanwy (April 14th)

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My Great-Great-Grandfather was a fluent Welsh speaker and a bard of the Gorsedd, a national poet of Wales. His daughter Myfanwy married an Anglo Welsh boy, an English speaker. As a result my grandfather was raised to speak English as a first language, rather than Welsh. I have inherited my Great-Great-Grandfather’s drive to write, but his language has been lost to me.


I’ve traced your name on the gravestone,
folded my voice around the sounds,
echoes from the land of our fathers.

You were named ‘Beloved’,
lost in life to an Anglo boy,
reclaimed in death
by your father’s name.
“Here lies Myfanwy,
daughter of Craigfab,
Bard of Wales.”

Your heritage was built in stone,
glazed in poetry and language.
Did your heart break,
to see your son’s face
turned to your father’s,
bereft of his mother’s tongue?

Did your love for the Anglo boy
complete you?
Or destroy you?
Were you whole in his arms
or lost in his world?
Did you know what would follow,
when your lips touched his,
swallowing his language whole?

My grandfather sleeps at your side,
with his own Anglo wife.
Two steps down the family tree,
the language root
was severed.
My mother mourned him
in English
with all of her Welsh soul.

The sounds of your language echo,
meanings long lost to me,
memories of a heritage denied.
I long to reclaim your father’s poetry;
but I write in the language
of your Anglo boy.

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