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Ifor ap Glyn - National Poet of Wales 


Blessed

Windrush Day, 22.6.20

(for Paulette Wilson, Anthony Bryan and Amelia Gentleman)

 

Blessèd am I, avoiding the plague,

in my imagined bondage;

treading ten thousand steps 

on the outskirts of my town.

 

And I walk the old paths 

with new eyes,

till I reclaim a seasonal tongue

that modulates between the slow, slow speech 

of the far-off mountains, 

and the abrupt babble of nearby hedgerows.

 

Blessèd am I,

with only the drumkit of a dove’s wings

to disturb my peace. That's my privilege...

which could revert in an eye-blink.

 

Because I was neither born 

nor raised here

though this is where I live

with my alleged children);

 

I've no proof that I'm Welsh;

that this is where I’ve lived

for each of the last forty years. 

 

But... 

no-one provokes me

with vile words like these...

So, I am blessed.

And I give thanks...

 

..that I will not be denied

hospital treatment,

though I’ve paid my stamp 

(I could’ve sworn)

since before those who spurn my rights 

were born.

 

I give thanks

that I won’t be dismissed from my job,

that I won’t be turned out of my house;

that I won’t be exiled to a city 

that doesn’t remember me;

that I won’t be jailed

at the edge of an airfield

 

by those who’d make my world a lie.

 

But...    

    but...    

 

blessèd shall we be,

when we cannot pass by on the other side;

when there’s a new turning 

in the heart of each town,

and we walk the old paths with new eyes,

stepping out, all together,

through the mud of winter,

 

till we walk new summers into our speech,

till we rise up better,

till we can live in colour, 

and not just see in black and white.

 

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