"Ponderynge together yestardayes promise, and two-dayes doyng"
(Hall's Chronicle - 1548)


"Goronigl gwyr yr Ynys" (Lewis Glyn Cothi - 1450)

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

The Spider (Y Corryn)


Iwan Llwyd was winner of the National Eisteddfod Crown in 1990, and, with Twm Morys, has been a productive deviser of poetic and musical entertainments in Welsh. In this well-known poem he compares the process of the weaving of a web by a spider to the making of a poem. I have aimed, here, at reproducing both the meaning and the formal structure of the original.




Iwan Llwyd (front) with John Barnie, Twm Morys and Nigel Jenkins
(prospectus for a bilingual poetry and music tour)

The Spider


His web was perfect

and him sitting there

where the glistening threads intersect:


he spent his life knitting sunlight

to a round plane of dew;

the end of his labour in sight


he'd listen to the drip of the rain

between the lines

silently shifting their refrain


and the grey river in full flow

irritable as it falls

companionless below


to meet the brackish floods

between the autumn cliffs

and the fringed woods;


he is impatient

weaving intricate patterns,

each answering assent


marking an exact measure

between corner and centre

stealing the stars' treasure


of diamonds to entice

insects along steel threads

towards the silence:


then a sudden rush of air

a quiver through the intersections;

like an old man he's there


under the yellow leaves

gathering it all in

to the pattern that he weaves.



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