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Cyfrolau | Published Work

 



Perfect Blemish | Perffaith Nam

Cyhoeddir gan Bloodaxe Books

Does yna ddim byd yn y byd yma sy’n berffaith, a dyna lle mae gogoniant ein byd ni; yn y pethau amherffaith mae ein barddoniaeth. Mae Menna Elfyn yn fardd sy’n sylwi ar bethau bychain bywyd er mwyn creu darlun o’r pethau mwy. Dyma’r gyfrol gyntaf yn y Gymraeg yn unig i Menna ei chyhoeddi ers dros ddeng mlynedd; doeddwn i ddim yn cofio fod amser wedi hedfan gymaint.

Early in Perfect Blemish we meet prisoner “No 257863 H.M.P” who states “I’m here for a cause/ but found new causes”. This relates to Elfyn’s imprisonment in 1993 for refusing to pay a fine as part of the Welsh non-violent campaign for a New Language Act. She emerged indignant at prison conditions. In later years, travelling across Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Mexico and the USA, she found a universality where lack of empathy led to inhumanity. All is recorded, powerfully, in her poems. In Welsh ‘waiting’ has at “least three different meanings and depends on the exact kind of waiting involved”. There is a still-life moment in Mother Tongue when “the old language between mother and daughter” takes precedence over message or media massage. There is the welcomed moment when a “hotel receptionist’s smile” transforms tiredness. It evokes visions where the poet “climbed up again on the slippery slope. Towards the mouth/which opens and closes. Like the kiss of life.” Then there is the moment all real poets await when independent thought comes “declaring me free/ to launch sounds in the throat/ from the squeeze-box of the soul/ paroled at last.”. Elfyn releases her soul as song.

Hayden Murphy

Plygain

Rwy'n ymolch
bob bore
yn nagrau diolch,

pob nam a'i chlwyf
sy'n llechu
ar esgair yr hyn ydwyf.

Nid o gam i gam
y rhedaf yr yrfa -
ond o nam i nam,

di-gri yw'r graith
yn grachen
sydd mor berffaith,

magu meflau sy'n rhwydd
sad o syml
yw amherffeithrwydd.

A dyma fan gwan -
y pry sy'n y prydydd:
esgyn cyn disgyn,
a'r gair yn fflwcsyn.

Matins

Every morning
I bathe
in tears of gratitude

each quirk and wound
that lurks
on the high ridge of my self.

I run my race
not from step to step,
but from schlep to schlep,

the pluck of the scar
a scab
so scarabed.

It's easy to brood on blemishes:
imperfection
is simple, stable.

And this is the fatal flaw -
the pit that waits for the poet:
flying, then falling,
the word a fluttering rag.


From: Menna Elfyn:
Perffaith Nam: Dau Ddetholiad a Cherddi Newydd 1995-2007
Perfect Blemish: New & Selected Poems 1995-2007
Available from October 2007



OTHER REVIEWS OF Perffaith Nam | Perfect Blemish
The Guardian (Sarah Brown)
A World to Win (Mike Clement)
Herald Poets (Hayden Murphy)