Sunday, September 28, 2008

So different, so very different. And yet...

Just when I begin to think it is totally hopeless, that we really no longer have anything at all in common anymore, I begin to come across things here and there in my research that remind me we were once countrymen long ago after all.

I see, on the one hand, so many differences in our customs and manner of speaking. And then I recall how my uneducated Tennessee mother used to tell me stories when I was a child, stories her own mother had told her - about a marvelous warrior who fought and killed giants, a warrior named Beowulf. And I suddenly feel the bond returning somehow over the centuries. I remember that same woman singing me to sleep with a gentle lullaby that I assumed was from the hills of Tennessee, but later learned it was Welsh through and through.

So many things are superficially different, yet even more things remain solidly the same over the years. If I learned anything at all from my research for my near-completed book it is that, in spite of our obvious differences, there remains this eerie undercurrent of sameness that I can't seem to shake.
This is the story of how we begin to remember
This is the powerful pulsing of love in the vein
After the dream of falling and calling your name out
These are the roots of rhythm
And the roots of rhythm remain
—Paul Simon (Graceland: African Skies)

Sleep, my child, and peace attend thee
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee
All through the night
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping
Hill and dale in slumber sleeping
I my loving vigil keeping
All through the night

While the moon her watch is keeping
All through the night
While the weary world is sleeping
All through the night
O'er thy spirit gently stealing
Visions of delight revealing
Breathes a pure and holy feeling
All through the night

Though I roam a minstrel lonely
All through the night
My true harp shall praise sing only
All through the night
Love's young dream, alas, is over
Yet my strains of love shall hover
Near the presence of my lover
All through the night

Hark, a solemn bell is ringing
Clear through the night
Thou, my love, art heavenward winging
Home through the night
Earthly dust from off thee shaken
By good angels art thou taken
Soul immortal shalt thou awaken
With thy last dim journey taken
Home through the night
Holl amrantau'r sêr ddywedant
Ar hyd y nos
'Dyma'r ffordd i fro gogoniant
Ar hyd y nos.
Golau arall yw tywyllwch
I arddangos gwir brydferthwch
Teulu'r nefoedd mewn tawelwch
Ar hyd y nos.
O mor siriol gwen a seren
Ar hyd y nos
I oleuo'i chwaer ddae ar en
Ar hyd y nos.
Nos yw henaint pan ddaw cystudd
Ond i harddu dyn a'i hwyr dydd
Rhown ein goleu gwan i'n gilydd
Ar hyd y nos.


  1. I'm a new reader to your blog, and to be sure, what I have read so far has been very interesting and sometimes bloody funny, so rest assured I'll be back again and again.

    The fact you posted a Welsh piece has nothing to do with it at all, obviously not...

  2. Check out number 2!

  3. Kingofankh - Thank you for your comment. I really hope you do stop by again. My friend Qelqoth has made me so wary of Welshmen that you come as a breath of fresh air.

    Much like my absent Catherine, another breath of fresh air. :)

    Compliments will get you everywhere...

    Canucklehead - That's rather scary. It means I am attracting the same audience your sorry blog does. What does that say of me?

    Hope things are getting less hectic for you. Are you ready for another party over at the pub?

  4. I've always loved the lullaby. Although I know it very well (such wonderful words), I'm sorry to say I didn't know it was Welsh. Paul Simon's Graceland has long been a favourite too.

    As for Alexa, you're third on my list, in amongst a number of blogs I've never heard of. I was quite glad to see you there - a friendly and half-way sensible face. Mmm, maybe not :)

  5. Cymru am byth!
    (My mother is Welsh)

  6. a.- I'm friendly. :) And I feel much better now. Canucklehead had me scared! Just kidding, Canuck. I love your blog. And so do a whole lot of other people. I should be so good as both of you.

    Sage - Aw shucks. ::draws line in dirt with toe, embarrasedly:: Thanks. (A lot!)

    Soubriquet - I knew what Cymru meant. Ummm... how do you say "half"? 'Cause you are.

    Thanks for the Whitby pics. You went to a lot of trouble for a man who doesn't even eat fish in the first place! :)

  7. I spent quite a lot of time translating Beowulf from the Anglo-Saxon, nice to see its appreciated outside dusty libraries!

    I've enjoyed the blog so far.



  8. Adam, thank you for the compliment. And thank you for stopping by. Translating Beowulf? Really? You are obviously out of my league, but please come back!



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