ANCESTORS a meditation on Gerallt Lloyd Owen’s awdl ‘CILMERI’

Er bod bysedd y beddau
Yn deilwriaid doluriau,
Cnawd yn co’ nid yw’n cau.

“Even though the fingers of graves
Are tailors of wounds
Cut flesh in memory does not close.”

Gerallt Lloyd Owen ‘Cilmeri’

Graves are tailors of grief
Sowing the seams of sorrow.

The needle slips through, threading
The shrouds of memory as it comes and goes.

Shrouded wounds in the mind’s eye
Are open despite death’s harrow.

The sword that cuts, resheathed
Does not stanch the blood that flows.

The feathered arrow cannot be unstrung
As if unsprung from the bent bow.

Though lost, memory remains
A trace of perception even so.

Fingers of graves – can these
Touch and feel the life within?

Feel, that is, the fabric of life
Cut its cloth, revive its skin.

Can the stealth with which they steal
Sew up a coat, that could be lived in.

Or are these stitches in time
Saving what should be shriven?

Should the scar still show to slow
The erosion of memory, or become hidden?

May grief continue to cut, or may it mellow,
Fade to resonance or fuel anger when bidden?

Is it the cynghanedd that calls,
Creeps over cemetery walls to correlate pain

Where the cement of sorrow seams
The bricks that divide from what remains

Of hurts that are history? Interlocked
Words building the past in the present again.

Rehearsing the old play, the hearsay
Of history recalling its story, it’s old refrain.

Haunting the halls of memory, avoiding
Death’s oblivion, believing fames’

Continuum beyond death, continues
A life, a legacy re-claimed.

So it’s a stitch-up, these graves
Tying the knots of a deed done,

Closing the open sores of grief
Tricking it up as a battle won

And lost at the same time:
A seal set on a fading horizon

Broken by memory, a mind
Re-calling a gaping wound, how blood runs

Through the runnels of history
Where the mind’s eye watches. Scum

On the clear pool of a perfect past
Clouds, yet reveals, the battle to come.

If graves stitch wounds, it is in the mind
Only, which is where, also, they remain open.
Ancestors are like that, elusive in their points
Of reference, but real too when they come again.