Non’s Well

KODAK Digital Still Camera
Ffynnon Non

Waters broke from a rock when Non,
pregnant, gripped it in a storm. By the well
Dewi was born: such tales do legends tell.

Now the waters that sit in the bowl of the rock
are still; beyond, waves break on the beach;
far out on the sea dolphins break the swell.

The view from the headland out over Bride’s Bay
is of islands, Sgomer, Sgogwm and between
and further out, too far to see, Gwales

keeping its secrets, where Brân’s head
sojourned while time stood still, the company
enchanted by the singing of Rhiannon’s birds.

Here a light spray showers down
as clouds break for a brief asperging
of a moment, which passes like the rain

as soon as it came, bringing a blessing
as did the touch of water from the well,
shaping a story : a tale I have to tell.

Non’s Well is a mile or so outside Tyddewi (St David’s) in Pembrokeshire where the cathedral to Wales’ patron saint is located. Non was his mother as told in his biography, though whether he was born here or further north in Ceredigion, the territory of Non’s father Ceredig, is disputed, as is often the case in legendary history.
But this site was already a place of significance and the well remains mythically present.


The story of Brân’s head and Gwales is told in the second of the four Mabinogi tales.

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