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


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

Germander Speedwell / Llywelyn's Herb

Germander Speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys)


‘Dolly’s Eye’ , it is in Welsh
because of the bright blue
of its petals - some pigment used
in coloured glass I supposed, though
surely not so long ago. But wait,
it’s also called ‘Blue Eye’, Bird’s Eye’,
‘Cat’s Eye’, ‘Bull’s Eye’ and ‘‘Angel’s Eye’.

The shape, then, of the petals
as much as the colour, the common theme
its eye-like opening into flower
low to the ground, winking at the world,
so called chamaedrys - ‘low-growing oak’ -
to speed you sturdily on your way
with a bright blue glint in its pupil.

Then consider ‘Llywelyn’s Herb’*, and folklore
of the plant - that if you pick or harm the flower
birds will peck out your eyes - and to mar
its brightness brings tears to your eyes.
‘The oak door of Aberffraw’, Llywelyn’s bard called him,
laid low with a cold heart, as was his land with weeping,
though his herb still gleams bright beneath the hedgerow.



* Llysiau Llywelyn - strictly speaking this is in the plural