The Holly Grove
THE HOLLY GROVE
Y Llwyn Celyn
Grove of holly, verdant in cold,
Castle of berries, coral-coloured,
Comely choir none can uproot,
Watertight bower, tower upright.
Within, my golden girl inspires;
On its leaves, spikes and spurs.
I? A man whose way traverses
Hillsides, woods with weeping tresses,
To find your fortress, edifice fair!
Through fields and woods I wandered far.
Who ever found, in winter’s midst
Green May alive and wrapped in mist?
I found today – I’ll not forget –
A holly grove where rooks took flight,
A bower of love, battlements of leaves
Arrayed in May’s strange livery,
A columned choir where voluntaries weird
Are piped through stems into the world,
Store house of song, over hostile hollows
Snow shrouded. Still and hallowed.
Fine workmanship, drawn more deftly
Than Robert’s landscapes, shaded softly;
Than Hywel Fychan more profound
(Whose forms and metres make us proud,
Who chose the Cynghanedd to praise
The woodland angel’s perfect poise
And splendid branches by the verge
With hair of lichens. Verse too vague!)
Chamber of birds born of heaven,
Arching temple, gleaming haven.
My cabin leaks and drips all night;
The holly bower is watertight.
Edged with steel, the leaves unwithered
Rarely rusted, never weathered.
From here to Severn , no old goat
Would chew on these, his teeth to grate
A muzzle of spines . Night looms long
And moorland mist hangs in the lung,
But wind and frost will not deprive
The handsome holly of his tithe:
While birches wither, oak trees rot,
Holly becomes my Camelot.
- Dafydd ap Gwilym, paraphrased by Giles Watson.
Solstice greetings to all my friends on Flickr.