THE RACE TO 'CYNGANEDDU'

By Sara Louise Wheeler


“The ear is important”, said the tutor – several times.

“You hear the stressed vowel”; the hearing, always the hearing.

And so, although we bent our knees, to feel the stress

and recognise the penult, the epiphany came to me,

like unexpected rain on a sunny day – to thwart my poetic ambitions.


I’d reconciled, somewhat, with the idea that

I will probably lose most of my hearing.

“I’ll write” I said – in my silent bubble.

But the ear is important, in order to hear the stress,

and hear it, not imagine it; the hearing, always the hearing.


But can’t I hear the words in my head? Fair question, but

the shape and feel of the words flow through the memory

like the faces of those who have since departed –

when we don’t have photographs to remind us;

little by little, they fade into nothingness.


If I was already set at cynganeddu, and familiar with forming

a rich vocabulary within this framework of poetry, I could

possibly create my own system – a coping strategy.

But I am just beginning, with my patchy glossary of

dialectical, non-standard, and un-eisteddfod-like terms.


Learning new words is increasingly difficult for me,

as my understanding of pronunciation fades;

how the words should sound, and so which words

I can couple and echo them with. This is of course,

a great shame and disadvantageous.


But there is always an opportunity, in every hopeless situation –

it’s essential to believe that, or else lose

strength and motivation entirely. I’ll commit to learning

a new vocabulary, a scholarly dialect,

and learn to embody the words, in a way which will enable me

to set them within the complex framework of special poetry.


#darkpoetsclub