There's an old saying that goes something like this:
"To be born Welsh is to be born not with a silver spoon in your mouth but with music in your heart and poetry in your soul"
Today, on our patron saint David's day, I am grateful that I am Welsh - even though I can neither sing nor write poetry.
As I've grown older I have learned to appreciate - and love - all that being Welsh means. The history, the legend, the culture, the hwyl, the ups and downs on the rugby field, the male voice choirs, even Tom Jones.
The saying I've quoted comes from the first verse of a poem, In Passing, by Brian Harris:
To be born in Wales,
Not with a silver spoon in your mouth,
But, with music in your blood
And with poetry in your soul,
Is a privilege indeed.
The poem goes on to talk about 'ugliness that scars the Spirit', 'wounds that weep in hills', and 'stigmata of sorrow, of pain and poverty'.
In the history of our country, from early invasion to the horror of Aberfan, from the fifteenth century defeat of Owain Glyndwr to the twentieth century defeat of the miners, there is indeed cause for sorrow but also pride. I have discovered that to be Welsh is to have a sense of belonging, a connection with the homeland that not so long ago I would have laughed at. The word hiraeth is hard to define but loosely it means a deep longing for home. It's the reason I sigh as we pass the Welcome to Wales sign on re-entering my country.