Cilmeri

Before memories fade of what is being described on Twitter and elsewhere as “the best Cilmeri ever” it gives me great pleasure to be the first to publish this poem by a Welshman who has been away from us for far too long. An indication of his whereabouts may be gleaned from knowing that in recent years he has, among other things, spent time translating classical Chinese poetry.

Not far from the Banks of Irfon

You see, it must have been somewhere,
in this sloping field or that;
where Dafis walked his dog today,
whose snout went snuffling
in a certain broom-choked patch;
where lovers lay last summer in the flattened sun-dried grass,
or lay, for that matter, in that self-same spot
a hundred or so years ago;
or there upon the hillside where the fat, incurious sheep
chew now upon the cud.
Or beneath that rooted blackthorn, succoured
by the good black soil that sucked the seeping blood.

But no-one knows the exact place, now,
where the broad-axe bit into close-knit mail,
where the long sword’s steel struck at the flesh
and the whetted blades hewed thick and fast –
and those alien hands tore the cross away
from round his neck.

And now the needle thrusts against the sky
in a chosen place that’s plain to see,
in the still, the cold December air, where the chill is felt
as it might have been those seven hundred years ago.
And banners flap yet in a rising breeze as they did in that age gone by –
and songs are sung and verses read
for the one who fell, nearby, somewhere,
– but no-one knows exactly where –
in whose living name fresh tribute is paid
from year to passing year, from one year to the next.     

Dafydd Hughes Lewis

51 thoughts on “Cilmeri

  1. Anonymous

    Thanks for this. I often pass and stop at the monument and walk down to the river and wonder he fell.

  2. Ian Perryman

    “An indication of his whereabouts may be gleaned from knowing that in recent years he has, among other things, spent time translating classical Chinese poetry.”

    He’s obviously been in the same queue as I have for Sweet and Sour pork in Cardiff.

    1. Big Gee

      Oh dear. Another indicator of the dizzy heights of literary appreciation in our capital. A Clark’s pie in one hand and an attempt to read the label on a bottle of Brain’s Dark in the other!

        1. dafis

          Clark’s Pie and Brains were staple parts of one’s diet many years ago. I believe I was healthier then – food for thought !

          1. dafis

            P.S. – I suspect that diet may have damaged a few brain cells because I don’t recall ever walking my dog on the banks of the Irfon, but if the poet says I was there who am I to argue ?

      1. Ian Perryman

        Oh dear. Another indicator of the dizzy heights of literary appreciation of the guy who’s got his head so far up his own arse that he can’t recognise a joke when he sees it..

  3. Big Gee

    I may have my head stuck up my own arse but I have a torch with me. I recognise a joke as well as the next man. However skitting at serious subject matter is not humour, and belittling the prowess of people with talents beyond our own is a ‘cheap shot’.

    I’m happy for you to blow the full time whistle now Jac. I’m sure Ian IS OK – just a little ‘fringe’ with his humour – I’ll put it down to being a little heavy handed with the Brains Dark.

    Yes dafis, that Clark’s & Dark diet didn’t seem to do me any harm either. The pies were lovely, but as for that ‘Dark’ stuff – well you have to be born in Kerdiff to appreciate it. It was a sad day when Buckley’s (oldest commercial brewery in Cymru apparently) in Llanelli got gobbled up by Brains.Thank goodness we still have Felinfoel! Although my alcohol consumption ended quite a few years ago.

    Let’s then Ian . . . .

  4. Big Gee

    As it’s the season for remembrance at Cilmeri, and given the way we visit (or at least mention) certain aspects of our culture on this blog – along with our heroes – not least the great bardic traditions that we have (many times with the mention of my fellow Cardi – Dic Jones in comments on here). I thought I’d give you and our fellow patriots a little treat Jac.

    On the other side of the coin as it were – where the contrast is brought into focus between the Anglo-Brit culture and our own traditional (true) Welsh culture. A refreshing chance to compare talk of shallow things like sport, modern Welsh politics, greed, third sector corruption etc. along with such mundane things as Clark’s pies and Brains Dark, with the deeper, more sincere and profound things that we should focus more on.

    Take a little time out and watch this video all the way through. It will strengthen the resolve of those that care, and hopefully provide an eye opener for those who are lost in a mist of ignorance about these things.

    ENJOY!

            1. dafis

              watched that programme when it was first released and good to know that it is so accessible on YouTube. To revisit and just listen to a few minutes here and there is therapeutic. Some months ago we wrote about the atmosphere at Ystrad Fflur and listening to this great man voice and his wisdom has a similar effect, without having to travel the miles for the therapy !

  5. dafis

    Saw that tweet about you and the FWA. That poor bugger is obviously fixated and you’re his default position when looking for a “bete noir” ! The guy obviously has a bit of the stalker about him – does he park up in a layby just down the road from your house ? does he steal your Malbec empties when you are not looking ? Do items of clothing disappear off your clothesline ? There should be an item on national news about this creep because others who might attract his attention might not be as resilient as you. Perhaps if you sent him a case of say 6 empties that would let him relieve his fetish for few weeks anyway!

          1. Big Gee

            Oh yes I remember him now. The hero of the Anglo-centric ‘Eye’. A bit like dog shit isn’t he? Once you pick it up on your shoe the stink stays with you even though you can’t see it after wiping it off.

            He’s got a bit of a chip on his shoulder about the BBC hasn’t he? No doubt a bit of a jealousy thing too – towards sensible reporters like Vaughan Roderick (all signs of a weak mental condition). Being ‘Jabba the Hutt’ Shipton’s bosom-buddy says it all. They make a right Laurel & Hardy pair.

            Just pity him Jac – he’ll probably be OK if he seeks a bit of psychiatric help. Mind you ‘stalking’ is now a criminal offense.

            1. dafis

              that picture is not very charitable – makes him look like a deviant just been caught looking at something very naughty on his desktop. There again maybe that’s what he was doing …….

            2. dafis

              that’s what lots said about a certain senior plod in the Wrexham area and he’s now just gone to stand in front of the really big judge, bless his corrupt soul !

            3. Stan

              Ha! I’ve been quiet of late but much enjoying the contributions here. Then the mention of the odious Parry has stirred me from my torpor. That cheap shot at Jac is rich coming from a man whose contribution to Welsh journalism includes his regular podcasts as part of that rather odd trio “the Three Muckrakers” or “Three Bullshitters” as I prefer to call them. If you want to waste nearly four minutes of your life check out this sleep-inducing, nauseating broadcast about Brexit which when I unearthed it earlier had all of 26 views! Phil Parry – see inertia in action. At least the number of hits on Jac’s blog should ensure the Bullshitters’ viewing figures will increase exponentially. Merry Christmas!

            4. There’s only two of them! Has one gone solo?

              Podcasts make me wonder about those involved, especially when nobody else watches them. Are they therapeutic? Cathartic? Or just the ultimate vanity project?

            5. Big Gee

              OMG! I hope no one ever associates them with Cymru – what a pair of pricks. I’ve left a comment on there – couldn’t resist. They sound like two English immigrants in a pub in deepest Wales – trying to impress the locals with their vacuous conversation, and made up expertise. Suffice to say I won’t be visiting that torturous neck of the woods on YouTube again in a hurry.

        1. dafis

          I think this Parry guy is a Grade A candidate for detaining under all sorts of mental health and public health regulations. The mental health aspect is amply evident, but it also spills over into public health because when so much crap is generated by one guy it must be deemed harmful as the fumes can cause all sorts of unforeseen side effects.

  6. dafis

    your tweet refers to UKIP in Wales. Just come off the Guido site where some Anglos were having a winge about immigrants damaging quality of schools in London, and some Sais living here starts piping up about Cymraeg in schools ! So I very succinctly invited him to pack his bags and fuck off back to England where his kids would be liberated from exposure to our language. Twat mawr !

      1. dafis

        I haven’t reached that page yet.

        Must say although Now’s book is quite interesting surely there must be a patriotic Cymro somewhere with the A.1 literacy to do a translation into Welsh, even using some of Now’s classic local idioms and “choice phrases”. Perhaps the Lolfa will launch a Welsh translation when they have flogged a big enough bundle of the English edition !. Robat Gruffudd knows how to make a few bucks, and good for him and those working with him.

      2. Big Gee

        Ah yes, Matthew 7:5 or as it says in the New International Translation: “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye“.

        You haven’t experienced a Damascian conversion of late have you Jac? Just wondering, your comments seem to have taken on a very conciliatory and peace/ peace keeping flavour. Maybe it’s the influence of this “goodwill to all men” air in the approach to the Saturnalia season! 😉

  7. dafis

    Ref your tweet – Is Sheen running out of work or something ? or trying to upstage his pal Kinnock jnr. in the insincere,vacuous utterances competition ?
    I used to rate Michael as an actor but he’s morphed into an ass. He could do a life’s work of genuine community activity in Port Talbot but ,of course, that might not get him noticed by national and global media. Therein lies the clue as to what’s going on – the kid craves publicity, the sainthood among the sniggering posturers that brings with it loads more outings on red carpets and TV coverage of activists who do nothing except talk about “activism”. Should have stuck to digging fluff out of his belly button !

    1. He doesn’t seem to realise that celebs telling people what to think and how to vote goes a long way to explaining the rise of the ‘populism’ he has now committed himself to fighting in Port Talbot.

  8. dafis

    I see that King Arthur’s up for grabs again ! While it would be nice to have the historical aspects defined beyond doubt it’s not likely to happen unless we get a time machine commissioned and even then there would be debates as to whether we travelled back in our time or in some “parallel time” or some such drivel. Suffice to say that Arthur is part of our folklore – a convoluted weave of history, mythology and downright propaganda !

    I do get pissed off with the English making a big deal of it all when you consider that he’s always been placed in that time frame when the native Cymry/Romano-British were fighting Angles, Saxons, Jutes and other assorted EU tribes who fancied having a pick through our treasures and grabbing land. All those invaders and the later Normans morphed into the English of today. So quite simply Arthur got nothing to do with any of them.

  9. dafis

    Aspiring Eminent Englishman Sajid Javid wants to introduce an oath of allegiance. I suggest that an oath of allegiance sworn TO THE PEOPLE would be most appropriate to remind our jumped up politicians that they are in their jobs to serve us.

  10. dafis

    Russian Ambassador gunned down in Turkey by alleged Turk policeman. If Erdogan is behind this then he’s got a full box of screws loose. He’ll have to eat so much humble pie that he’ll be constipated for months after, otherwise old Vlad is going to take a hefty strip out of Turkey’s duplicious hide. What odds on CIA and/or NATO black ops units behind this just to keep the Middle East pot boiling. Things not going well for them in Syria so default position, as ever, open another front !
    Slowly working through Shadow Wars by C Davidson, a hefty academic tome but well worth the struggle. He describes the history of manipulation and counter revolutionary themes running consistently through UK and USA foreign policy from way way back and accelerating since WW2, initially as a factor in Cold War strategies but now purely a geopolitcal/economic power play. Generations of double dealing politicians, military and business figures abusing countries in all sorts of nasty ways and using the MSM to gloss it up for consumption by gullible masses.

    And still we have people claiming to be sane, yet denying the existence of a large scale international conspiracy to dominate and carve up the world’s material resources and financial reserves.

    1. If the video is to be believed then the assassin is/was an Islamist. But who knows who might have been behind it? I see that the Turkish Foreign Minister is due in Moscow tomorrow, and the visit is still going ahead. I bet he’s looking forward to it!

    2. Big Gee

      We are convinced that those who planned this barbaric act aimed to undermine the process of normalization of Russian-Turkish relations, mainly in order to prevent effective counter-terrorist measures in Syria,” Lavrov said.

      Now guess who would want that? It sort of narrows down the ‘suspect’ list doesn’t it?

      The perpetrator, who was wearing a suit and a tie, shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (‘God is great’ in Arabic) during the attack. Following the shooting of Karlov, the assailant shouted: “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!”

      How convenient, reminds you of the nonsense about finding an undamaged passport at the site of a ‘terrorist’ bomb blast that burnt everything around it, but those clever ‘security’ folk always seem able to find pristine evidence for the perpetrators. Odd that isn’t it? And as I say SO CONVENIENT!

      “And still we have people claiming to be sane, yet denying the existence of a large scale international conspiracy to dominate and carve up the world’s material resources and financial reserves”.

      SO true dafis, so true.

        1. I saw that yesterday. A lot of people are getting worried that Trump is going shift the whole focus of US foreign policy to a position that sees Russia as an ally rather than an adversary. Which would make sense to me, because the real enemy is elsewhere.

          1. Big Gee

            You’ve got it in one Jac “the real enemy IS elsewhere” and it’s wearing sheep’s clothing to try & fool us all, but what did ol’ Abe Lincoln say? “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time“. …

  11. The Earthshaker

    Powerful poem, thanks for posting it and it could be me but more people seem aware of the anniversary this year, i saw lots of pictures from Cilmeri and articles about Llewellyn shared on social media on the 11th and 12 December – a small ray of light in the testing times.

    1. Yes, there was a good turnout this year. Quite a few new faces too. But then, most of the boys from the ’60s are gone. It’s quite worrying when I think about it. I find comfort and solace in alcohol.

      I was at Abaty Cwm Hir today. Here’s a photo I took of the grave. The wreath and the card were scattered when I arrived so I’m not sure if they were originally together, but anyway, the card read ‘Cymdeithas Gwenllian’.

      Bedd Llywelyn

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