Waldo Williams: Wales and Welsh (From Welsh)

Wales and Welsh
By Waldo Williams
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

Here are the mountains. One language alone can raise them
And set them in freedom against a sky of song.
Only one pierced the riches of their poverty,
Through the dream of ages, visions of moment, come and gone.
When through thin air the sun cuts carvings on the rocks,
Strong over a chasm, sure over playgrounds of chance,
I know not how they endure, unless the bounds of time
Bound them in turn, in an eternity of dance. 
Fit home for her, their interpreter! No matter what,
We must claim the place and never ask the price.
She's danger's daughter. Wind whips her path, her foot
Where they of the lower air fell and failed to rise.
Till now she's seen her way far clearer than prophets see.
She'll be as young as ever, as full of devilry.  


This poem alludes obliquely to a poem Aros mae'r mynyddoedd mawr (Still the mighty mountains stay) by the lyricist and poetaster John 'Ceiriog' Hughes. It begins

Still the mighty mountains stay
Still the winds about them roar
Still we hear at break of day
Songs of shepherds as of yore....

The Original:

Cymru a Chymraeg

Dyma’r mynyddoedd. Ni fedr ond un iaith eu codi
A’u rhoi yn eu rhyddid yn erbyn wybren cân.
Ni threiddiodd ond un i oludoedd eu tlodi.
Trwy freuddwyd oesoedd, gweledigaethau munudau mân
Pan ysgythro haul y creigiau drwy'r awyr denau,
Y rhai cryf uwch codwm, y rhai saff ar chwaraele siawns
Ni wn i sut y safant onid terfynau
Amser a'u daliodd yn nhro tragwyddoldeb dawns.
Tŷ teilwng i'w dehonglreg! Ni waeth a hapio
Mae'n rhaid inni hawlio'r preswyl heb holi'r pris.
Merch perygl yw hithau. Ei llwybr y mae'r gwynt yn chwipio,
Ei throed lle diffygiai, lle syrthiai, y rhai o'r awyr is.
Hyd yma hi welodd ei ffordd yn gliriach na phroffwydi.
Bydd hi mor ieuanc ag erioed, mor llawn direidi.

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