Er Gwell, Er Gwaeth (For Better, For Worse)

by solitary walker

A’r fodrwy hon y’th briodaf …¹

something about the ring in the blackbird’s eye

on an April evening; the hunter’s jewelled stare;

the marriage of sun and rain on dancing water;

the circle of my arms round sheets off the line;

yours bringing armfuls of wood for the fire.


â’m corff y’th anrhydeddaf …²

something of touch, taste, smell, the language

of hands, those chemical gifts one to the other;

grace and gesture, silence and reflection

that pair for life two swans on a river,

soundlessly sculling the stream, lover to lover.


â’m holl olud bydol y’th gynnysgaeddaf …³

my dowry a derelict house on a hill, five fields,

two acres of bluebells under oaks; yours, your vision.

You made sound the ruin, dreamed space and light,

a room of oak and glass, let in the sky, the hills,

and all of Ceredigion, Cariad, in a glance.


Gillian Clarke


From the Welsh:

¹ With this ring I thee wed

² With this body I thee worship

³ With all my worldly goods I thee endow