Week 284: Dychwelyd, by T.H. Parry-Williams

T.H. Parry-Williams (1887-1975) was one of the major figures in a great flowering of Welsh poetry in the first half of the last century, and this is one of his best-known sonnets, a popular choice for recitation at Eisteddfods.

The translation that follows is my own.

Dychwelyd

Ni all terfysgoedd daear byth gyffroi
distawrwydd nef; ni sigla lleisiau’r llawr
rymuster y tangnefedd sydd yn toi
diddim diarcholl yr ehangder mawr;
ac ni all holl drybestod dyn a byd
darfu’r tawelwch nac amharu dim
ar dreigl a thro’r pellterau sydd o hyd
yn gwneuthur gosteg â’u chwyrnellu chwim.
Ac am nad ydyw’n byw ar hyd y daith,
o gri ein geni hyd ein holaf gŵyn,
yn ddim ond crych dros dro neu gysgod craith
ar lyfnder esmwyth y mudandod mwyn,
ni wnawn, wrth ffoi am byth o’n ffwdan ffôl,
ond llithro i’r llonyddwch mawr yn ôl.

T.H. Parry-Williams

Return

No earthly riot that we make can mar
The peace of heaven; there is no voice here
With power to match its tranquil might and jar
That endless perfect overarching sphere.
Not all our human tumult here below
Can break the seal of silence, nor surprise
Whatever moves the stars to come and go
Forever spiralling on soundless skies.
For all our life, from cradle to the grave,
From infant’s cry to our last agony,
Is but a shadow-wound, a passing wave
Which leaves no scar on that smooth silent sea,
As from this earthly fuss we find release
To meld once more with everlasting peace.

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