Over the high hills of Wales stride, stride,
Straddle them, giant-wise,
Under gigantic skies,
Strong-legged, bridge the wide
Grass-lush valleys of a paradise.
To the breast-round mountains cling, cling,
Red tipped at sunrise
Under reddening skies,
Deep with passion, nipple-dark, to bring
For the grass-lush valleys of paradise.
The pure, grass-lush valleys of paradise,
Penetrate, penetrate, and, with dark fire, create,
Deep to the depths of desire, and giant-wise,
Under the reddened and gigantic skies,
With the high hills, breast-round and passionate,
Wales is literally the “Land of my Fathers". My dad, who was born in Blackwood, near Pontllanfraith, taught me the word Hiraeth when I was a kid.
Hiraeth is a Welsh word, tricky to translate with accuracy. It has an intensely emotional, felt quality, difficult to convey. In terms of meaning, it has connotations of homesickness & nostalgia, an earnest longing or desire, or a sense of regret. It has been described as homesickness for a home you cannot return to, or that maybe never was; it conveys nostalgia and yearning and grief for lost places.
This is the best that the
Oxford English Dictionary,
(Third Edition, June 2020), where it is a new entry,
Originally and chiefly in the context of Wales and Welsh culture: deep longing for a person or thing which is absent or lost; yearning; nostalgia; spec. homesickness."
When my dad wrote it, he had been living away from his birthplace, for over two decades. It's clear his beloved homeland was still present in his heart.
more by my father:
Other related internal links: