In Sempringham - A poem by Mererid Hopwood


As of now (6 November 2005) Mererid Hopwood is the only woman ever to have won the Chair at the National Eisteddfod, the supreme honour for a poet writing in the traditional Welsh style.

The Society gratefully acknowledges Mererid Hopwood's kind permission to publish the original Welsh version on our web site.

For a word-for-word translation of the poem, please scroll down.

For a Very, Very Short Introduction to traditional Welsh poetry, click here.


In Sempringham
(From Mererid Hopwood's Welsh original)

To you we come, Gwenllian,
we bring your language, and we bring the fire
of your hearth to the quietness
of this place, where there is all the dust
of your story, where your name
bursts out in a loud cry across their land,
where you, Gwenllian, were
silent - we come back to the place.

The rag doll of our wounded race.
You are our gentlest hero,
ur helpless baby, our captive mother,
young in your antiquity,
and to you, Gwenllian,
we come from your land, blameless girl,
come again to the flat lands
today to the place of your long suffering.

Because there is pain in the blossoming of the
spring, because there is lamentation in memory,
this is why the mother who never was
and her seed still bleed,
and the sister who was a prisoner
is still on the unbroken journey
to the place where her voice breaks out
and her breath in our echo.

Within us is Gwenllian,
she is the poem and the notes of the song,
and she will still be commemorated.

Here today,
there is need of forgiveness.