ABERFFRAW, YNYS MÔN


Sand dunes, sharp with pampas grass, muffle

Caernavon Bay, St. George’s Channel,

the Atlantic. The Ffraw’s estuary flows

narrow as an eel. The curlews call.

 

The non-conformist chapel is up for sale

and the visitors’ centre does funeral teas.

The highway bypasses the village,

though here, fourteen centuries ago,

was the urbane, Christian court of Cadfan, Prince

of Gwynedd. Nothing remains. The Vikings

razed the wooden palace. He was buried

some two miles away, the slate gravestone

inscribed in Latin not Welsh by his heir:

Catamanus rex, sapientissimus,

opinatissimus, omnium regnum –

Cadfan, wisest, most renowned of all kings.

 

A penchant for dissension kept the Celtic

empires shifting like sand. They founded London,

Paris and Vienna but Rome and its

civil service, under new management,

finally seduced and traduced them.

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  1. #1 by arthur kemelman - January 25th, 2012 at 17:10

    I am reading a history of the middle ages at present and it would have been very much an enhancement of the writer’s rather heavy style if your poem could have been included as he laboriously traces the origins of England. Unfortunately or fortunately as the case may be, the history was written in 1953.

  2. #2 by Tim Ellis - January 27th, 2012 at 12:43

    I note a subtle ironic tone running all the way through this poem.

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