Watch: Moving bilingual poem recited at launch of Cranogwen statue in Llangrannog
Back in June 2023 a long-awaited statue of Cranogwen was unveiled in Llangrannog, and a poem that was read out to the public at the time has been released online to mark the celebrated Welsh poet’s birthday this month.
The statue of Cranogwen, Sarah Jane Rees (1839 – 1916) came about following a campaign by Cerflun Cymunedol Cranogwen Community Monument (CCCCM), a subgroup of the Llanrannog Welfare Committee in partnership with Monumental Welsh Women (MWW).
5 statues, 5 Welsh women, 5 locations
This is the third statue commissioned by MWW of a named, non-fictionalised woman to be erected in an outdoor public space in Wales, following the unveiling of the Betty Campbell Monument in Cardiff in 2021, and of the statue of Elaine Morgan in Mountain Ash in 2022.
Monumental Welsh Women’s mission is to erect 5 statues honouring 5 Welsh women in 5 locations around Wales in 5 years.
The unveiling was a creative celebration that aimed to echo elements of Cranogwen’s many innovative achievements.
Cranogwen was the first woman to win an award for poetry at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, and Professor Mererid Hopwood, the first woman to win a Chair at the National Eisteddfod, helped to guide the ceremony during the day.
At the time, the poet said: “It is a tremendous privilege to be part of the celebrations to remember Cranogwen’s pioneering contribution. Being able to support the community of Llangrannog and all those who have worked tirelessly to ensure that Wales and the world remember her will be quite an honour. What a life and what a woman to inspire us all.”
At the launch, Casi Wyn, former Bardd Plant Cymru and Hannan Issa, National Poet of Wales read a poem titled ‘Dywed, beth oedd ei chyfrinach?’ (Tell me, what was her secret?) and the poem has finally been made available to watch online to celebrate Cranogwen’s birthday.
You can watch it in full here, and read the full words to the poem below.
Dywed, beth oedd ei chyfrinach?
“Tell me of Cranogwen”, said the sea to the shore.
“Dywed, beth oedd ei chyfrinach?”
“She was brave”, came the reply,
softer than a crab shifting on sand.
“Merch y graig, gonest, garw, cryf oedd hi,
my bones remember her steps,
penderfynoldeb ei chamau
so certain, so assured.
Unafraid of moulding new paths
through my sands, my fields,
they still hum her harmonies,
playful as the wind.
A deimli di ei halaw
dros fy nhraethau,
ar fy nghreigiau?”
“Ah yes. My seaweed, my rocks recall her voice well.
Yma bu barddoniaeth
raising the daily works of women and girls,
till her song reached the gulls soaring overhead.
They carried her words across the sea,
ei brawddegau a deithiant
to shores of far away and future.
gan hau haelioni
a chynhesrwydd Ceredigion
yn llenwi ei chalon.”
They cried when offering her the helm,
carved of memory,
ritual soaking into wood.
Hi yn ei holl hynodrwydd
sy’n parhau i anadlu
bywyd yn y pridd.
Her words still echo through my trees
as they tell saplings the adventures
of a woman who would not waiver.
“She read my waters,
darllennodd pob deigryn
a gwau edafedd arian
rhwng atgof ac atgof,
hearing the whispers of the stars.
At night, I sent soothing waves,
tonnau hen, hen si-hei-lwli-mabi,
gently rocking her into dreams
of the deep. Secrets I shared as she slept
and Cranogwen woke with my sighs on her tongue.”
“Now I keep her. Our sweet Sara,
beloved of sea and shore,
yn un â’r tir a’i carodd,
her life a glimmering dream,
gorffwysa in my earthen embrace,
daear a blodau,
root and seed,
kissing her bones.”
Hanan Issa, Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru / National Poet of Wales
a Casi Wyn, Bardd Plant Cymru 2021-2023
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