Monday, March 01, 2010

Lenten thanks 13

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.


Lia said...

Happy St David's Day.

I hope you had a good one.
I think being born with music and poetry in your heart and soul is far far better than a silver spoon any day.

Much love

CherryPie said...

Happy Saint David's Day :-)

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Happy St David's Day !
The English are lovely but all of us who come from the edges , Welsh , Scottish and Irish are extra lovely !!
Not that I'd say it out loud , of course .

Gledwood said...

I can just imagine Richard Burton saying those words at top!

Furtheron said...

I have a similar feeling going in the other direction... not that I don't love Wales, esp as we are seeing a lot of it these days back and forward to Aberystwyth but as they say... there's no place like home. Coming into Kent from a long journey, either over the bridge over the Thames or on the road from London or on the M25 seeing that sign makes me feel at home.

Leslie: said...

Maybe to be born Welsh but in another country also means a longing to return to the homeland. Both Lorne and I are Welsh on our fathers' sides (Jones and Evans - can you GET more Welsh???) and are planning a trip there - hopefully 2011 - to stay at my friend's place in Newport while they come and stay in our place here. Will surely let you know if it all works out. Lorne wants to bring his family Bible "home" but we're not sure just where to take it. Any ideas?