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The Llinell, not the linell.

The llong, the llinyn, the llyfr, the llwyn.

Sali Mali is counting the sandwiches,

Un, dwy, tair, pedair,

because sandwiches are feminine aren’t they?

But why are sandwiches feminine?

And how to know when to mutate –

and when not to?

Meddal, trwynol, llaes, Cysefin.

I have the table in the back of my dictionary,

But it may as well be on quantum physics from the planet Siwenna!

And what of the acen grom?

and other decorative symbols?

They look very nice on the page,

and add a Je ne se quoi to people’s names,

I must admit.

Siôn, Siân, Llŷr and Andrèa.

But I can’t for the life of me remember the rules,

and they’re a nuisance to type as well.

Complicated codes like some nightmarish semaphore,

it’s enough to keep someone from blogging!

And how to write the date even?

-af, -fed, -ydd, -ed,

And why are some things un-deg-tri,

While others are dair-ar-ddeg?

I’m a stranger to the language of my heart –

in every “correct” sense anyway.

And yet there’s a beauty which lies within the complexity,

Of the old tribal language shrouded in mystery.

With its pretty idioms and poetic phrases,

Steeped in a history which continually amazes.

Morphological traditions which contemporaries respect,

and the richness derived from each dialect.

A vivaciousness of spirit when Cymraeg is spoken,

So proud are we that it has not been forsaken.

And thus I am willing to study diacritics,

 For the honour to write with their added aesthetics.

I’ll embrace now the teg, tecach, and teced,

the drud, the drutach, the drutaf, the dryted.

It’s a pleasure to learn how to correct my gwallau,

and to learn the correct way to count the brechdanau.

 

This poem is a translation of my poem “Why are sandwiches feminine? (And other interesting questions)”  which was published in my column “Synfyfyrion llenyddol (literary musings)” And also in the magazine “Voice” (United press); the translation was published with the Welsh version in “Voice”./ Y mae’r cerdd yma yn cyfieithiad o fy ngherdd “Pam fod brechdanau’n fenywaidd? (A chwestiynau eraill)” a chafodd ei cyhoeddi yn fy ngholofn “Synfyfyrion llenyddol” a hefyd yn y cylchgrawn “Voice” (United press); cyhoeddwyd y cyfieithiad gyda’r fersiwn Gymraeg yn “Voice”.

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