Over the past few weeks, Grace over at Toads has been teaching us a few of the 24 mediaeval forms of Welsh poetry and our task this week was to combine two or more of the forms to make a poet in the epic Welsh tradition. My effort consists of the cywydd llosgyrnog (stanzas 1-3), the awdl gywydd (stanzas 4-10), the toddaid (stanzas 11-13) and the englyn milwr (stanzas 14 - 16) Of course, it is highly probable that I've got one or more of them completely wrong.
Epic poetry of course demands an epic theme. What better way to commemorate the recent presidential election here in Ireland?
(i) Autumn whistled through the cold land;
the fires of discontent were fanned
by injustice and contempt.
Dry crisp leaves whispered in corners;
onlookers lined up to scorn us,
sad mourners, cold and unkempt.
(ii) To Tara we thronged, sore distressed,
unsure what to do for the best,
from points south, west, north and east.
All sections were represented
as we broke bread and dissented –
rhetoric scented the feast.
(iii) We needed a King to feed us,
guide us, nurture, help and lead us,
to heed us when we grew nervous.
Seven stepped boldly before us,
pledging in a pleasant chorus
to work for us and serve us.
(iv) One was touched by God’s fair hand,
sweet voice and gentle of soul.
She would sing away all our cares
through her prayers and make us whole.
(v) One was spurred by charity,
sought out parity for all
who suffered in body or mind,
forgotten behind the wall.
(vi) One was a politician;
on a mission now to mend
the split country through wheelings
and dealings, means to an end.
(vii) One was a wise old druid,
speech fluid, sage and clever.
Life he said, was a yearning
to keep learning forever.
(viii) One was a soldier of old,
camouflaged, bold, still bloodied.
He promised a brave new world,
freedom unfurled, unmuddied.
(ix) One was a merchant; he could
grasp the task – would not fudge it.
With his strong fiscal talents,
he could balance the budget.
(x) The last was a poet, dreamer,
wild-haired schemer with strong views.
Though aging and small of build,
he still filled a giant’s shoes.
(xi) The seven were grilled, roasted on a spit,
by commentators skilled in the sport.
Secrets were outed, histories perused,
assertions doubted, much mischief wrought.
(xii) The people pondered at length, and very
carefully, the strength of each person,
anxious to choose well and choose correctly,
not wishing the bad news to worsen.
(xiii) At last, with one voice, they declared loudly
on whom their fateful choice had landed.
They had elected the dreamer / poet,
wise and respected, open-handed.
(xiv) Michael D, fate is calling.
demanding and enthralling
On you our hopes are falling.
(xv) Michael D, on your shoulders
lie our dreams, large as boulders.
Guide us, nurture us, hold us.
(xvi) Michael D, may God find you
ready; and may He mind you,
with us staunchly behind you.