i want to learn welsh

May 19, 2008

……just to be able to read this poem in the original:

What does it mean to be human?

by Waldo Williams
.
What is staying alive? To possess
A great hall inside of a cell.
What is it to know? The same root
Underneath the branches.
.
What is it to believe? Being a carer
Until relief takes over.
And to forgive? On fours through thorns
To keep company to an old enemy.
.
What is it to sing? To receive breath
From the genius of creation.
What’s work but humming a song
From wood and wheat.
.
What are state affairs? A craft
That’s still only crawling?
And armaments? Thrust a knife
In a baby’s fist.
.
Being a nation? What can it be? A gift
In the swell of the heart.
And to love a country? Keeping house
In a cloud of witnesses.
.
What’s the world to the all powerful?
A circle spinning.
And to the children of the earth?
A cradle rocking.
.
.
Translated from the Welsh by Menna Elfyn
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