Snowdrops are up in our garden, already, because, I suppose, it is so mild, and they make me think of the poem by Waldo Williams, where he endows this small flower with courage because, for all its delicacy and ‘modesty’, it still pushes through hard, inhospitable conditions – winter earth – ‘like steel’ to lead in the new, the summer to come. Because we have set this poem to music, I feel very close to it.
I think with gratitude of all those people across the generations who have had the courage to stand as lone voices, or small groups, within their own inhospitable conditions, speaking out against injustices, bearing the blows of opposition, but ultimately issuing in a new way of being and seeing – something better, kinder, more humane. And on it goes, that work – so here’s to little groups of snowdrop-energy everywhere.
Wynebau perl y cyntaf fflur.
Er eu gwyleidd-dra fel y dur
I odde' cur ar ruddiau cain,
I arwain cyn y tywydd braf
Ymdrech yr haf. Mae dewrach 'rhain?
The pearl faces of the earliest flower -
For all their modesty, like steel
To bear blows on the lovely cheeks
And lead out, before warm weather,
Summer's array. Are there braver than they?
From Waldo Williams, The Peacemakers (Gomer Press)
English poem translations by Tony Conran.
Gorwel’s and my setting of this poem to our music can be heard here: https://fionagorwelowen.bandcamp.com/track/eirlysiau