Melin Trefin … centenary

… The stone at rest that watches the place
in the thrashing rain and the wind

Two years ago, I wrote about the poet William Williams Crwys, and his much-loved poem Melin Trefin.  See my original article Trefin Mill which was prompted by the visit of fellow poet Chris Hemingway to Trefin in 2016. This May, I had the pleasure of visiting the Pembrokeshire village of Trefin myself … and the mill that inspired the reverend-bard-archdruid Crwys to write the poem … in 1918.  It seemed an even more meaningful occasion, therefore, in this the 100th anniversary year of the poem.

Here is a photographic record of my visit, with excerpts from the poem in Cymraeg, together with my translation:

Nid yw’r Felin heno’n malu
Yn Nhrefin ym min y môr,
Trodd y merlyn olaf adref
Dan ei bwn o drothwy’r ddôr,
Ac mae’r rhod fu gynt yn chwyrnu
Ac yn rhygnu drwy y fro,
Er pan farw’r hen felinydd
Wedi rhoi ei holaf dro.

The mill is not grinding tonight
in Trefin at the edge of the sea.
The last pony, from beneath its burden,
turned from the threshold towards home
and the wheel that used to rumble
and grumble through the area
has, since the old miller died,
made its last turn.

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Trefin Mill on the North Pembrokeshire Coast

 

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‘The mill is not grinding tonight’

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‘at Trefin at the edge of the sea’.
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‘The kindly stream still runs on’
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‘… past the bare forehead of the house’
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May was the perfect month to visit – with sea pinks (thrift), stonecrop, bladder campion, bird’s foot trefoil and kidney vetch, as well as red campion, bluebells and cow parsley adorning the glorious banks and verges of Pembrokeshire

 

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Rhed y ffrwd garedig eto
Gyda thalcen noeth y ty,
Ond ddaw ned i’r fal ai farlys,
A’r hen olwyn fawr ni thry,
Lle doi gwenith gwyn Llanrhiain
Derfyn haf yn llwythi cras,
Ni cheir mwy on tres o wymon
Gydag ambell frwynen las.

The kindly stream still runs on
past the bare forehead of the house
but it no longer comes to mill the barley
and the big old wheel won’t turn again.
Where the wheat of Llanrhiain
lay at summer’s end
now there’s only a trace of seaweed
and a few green reeds.

 

 

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‘Where the wheat of Llanrhiain
lay at summer’s end’

Looking towards the fields of neighbouring Llanrhian parish, from the village of Trefin. Cereal crops grown in the fields will have been harvested and carted from there to Trefin for grinding into flour.  IMG_6097

Segur faen sy’n gwylio’r fangre
Yn y curlaw mawr a’r gwynt,
Di-lythyren garreg goffa
O’r amseroedd difyr gynt,
Ond’ does yma neb yn malu,
Namyn amser swrth a’r hin
Wrthi’n chwalu ac yn malu,
Malu’r felin yn Nhrefin.

The stone at rest that watches the place
in the thrashing rain and the wind
is a letterless memorial
to the jollity of former times.
Nobody is milling here now.
It is a time of dereliction
– the grinding down
of the mill at Trefin.

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Entering the village of Trefin
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Middle section of the tapestry commemorating the famous poem, curated by Val Dubbens and displayed in the chapel for its 175th anniversary (1843 – 2018)
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Inside the Chapel at Trefin, recently restored
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The chapel at Trefin stands on Druid’s Hill, probably named after William Williams Crwys – minister, bard and archdruid (who, thirty years after writing this poem, inducted Princess Elizabeth into the Gorsedd of Bards at the General Eisteddfod held Bridgend in 1948  … well before her coronation as Queen).

 

 

 

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Capel Trefin

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The whole of the fine tapestry, featuring the chapel, mill and lines from the poem. The tapestry was curated by Val Dubbens.
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Roadsign next to the chapel, commemorating William Williams Crwys
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Sign outside the chapel
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A stanza from the poem, on information board on the outer wall of the ruined mill
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Illustration from the information board
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English translation from information board
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Information board on the outer wall of the mill
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Gwybodaeth am y felin – yn Gymraeg

                                                                                                                                        

 

October Highlights

South Magazine Launch in Newbury

A busy month performance-wise. On Tuesday 10 October, fellow poet, Dave Ashbee, and I read at a launch event held by South Magazine in Newbury.  Dave and I were asked along, as we were co-selectors for Issue 56 of the magazine.  Dave’s set included the always-enjoyable found poem – The Gloster Birder, and my set included my seasonal poem – Shaggy Inkcaps.  The evening’s programme continued with poems read by a number of contributors to South, including many of the poems which Dave and I had selected for this issue.  A most enjoyable evening featuring impressive poetry and hospitable company – with thanks to Patrick Osada, Peter Keeble and other members of the South Magazine management team. South’s report on the evening can be found here: http://www.southpoetry.org/readings

Cheltenham Literature Festival

Next day, Wednesday 11 October, Cheltenham Poetry Society read at Cheltenham Literature Festival. The programme comprised poems and projected photographs from our anthology Cheltenham 300 … published to mark the tercentenary of Cheltenham as a spa town.

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Cheltenham 300 anthology

Poets reading at the event featured (left to bright in the photograph below):
Roger Turner, Stuart Nunn, Robin Gilbert, Alice Ross, Sharon Larkin, Sheila Spence, David Ashbee,  Belinda Rimmer, Michael Newman, Annie Ellis. Howard and Marilyn Timms (not in the photograph) also read at the event.

CPS members read at the prestigious Cheltenham Literature Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Villanelles at Waterstones, Cheltenham

On Monday, 16 October our friends in Gloucester Poetry Society ran their monthly event, Villanelles, in Waterstones, Cheltenham. The evening included performances by guest poet, Clive Oseman from Swindon, Jason Conway, Rose Chanter, Sarah Snell-Pym, Lania Knight, Kurt Schroeder (thanks for the photographs), George and other poets from Cheltenham and Gloucester. Thanks to Rose Chanter and Waterstones, and Jason Conway and GPS, for these enjoyable monthly events.

Reading with Gloucester Poetry Society’s Villanelles at Cheltenham Water stones

Poetry Cafe Refreshed, at Smokey Joes, Cheltenham

On Wednesday 16 October, several Cheltenham and Gloucester poets read at the monthly Poetry Café Refreshed event at Smokey Joe’s in Cheltenham, where we were thrilled to have Matthew Stewart as our guest poet.

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Guest poet Matthew Stewart
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David Clarke and Jennie Farley
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Gill Wyatt, Jennie Farley, Annie Ellis, Belinda Rimmer, Sharon Larkin

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Roger Turner, David, Chris Hemingway, Charlie Markwick
The Wurlitzer Juke Box – always a star of the show
Reading at Poetry Café Refreshed,        Smokey Joe’s, October 2017

 

Gloucester Poetry Festival

Later in the month, on Thursday 26 November, Roger Turner, Michael Newman, Dave Ashbee and I read a selection of our poems in the Black Cat Bar, The Dick Whittington pub, in Gloucester, as part of the first-ever Gloucester Poetry Festival, organized by Ziggy Slug and Jason Conway.

Awaiting the poets
Sharon reads in the Black Cat Bar
Roger Turner at the mic
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Michael Newman’s spot
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Triumphant Triumvirate

Poetry Cafe in Cheltenham Library

And, finally, next day, Friday 27 October, Roger Turner, Michael Newman, Belinda Rimmer and I read in Cheltenham Library with a number of poets from the University of Gloucestershire, with memorable poems especially from George and Ziggy.  There was also an open mic. This was the latest event in the library’s monthly  lunchtime Pop-up Poetry Café programme. Thanks to poet and UoG lecturer, Angela France, and Rebecca Sillence of Cheltenham Library for making the event happen.

 

October – Poetry Month

For poets, every month is a poetry month, but in the UK we have National Poetry Day and a series of festivals around Britain which make every October a feast of poetry.

This year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival includes: Gillian Clarke and Alison Brackenbury, Luke Kennard and Melissa Lee-Houghton, Matthew Hollis and Blake Morrison, Simon Armitage, Sarah How and Rebecca Perry … and local writers and poets in a Gloucestershire Writers’ Network event.  I’m delighted to have tickets for all of these (not to mention a ticket for Ian McEwan, taking about his new novel, Nutshell.  He read the opening few pages at his event last night and it struck me as not only witty, humorous, astute … but, yes, poetic).  Cheltenham Literature Festival

Nearby we have Swindon Poetry Festival 2016 and Bristol Poetry Festival 2016 going on, and later in the month, a weekend festival here in Cheltenham celebrating Dylan Thomas, run by Anna Saunders/Cheltenham Poetry Festival I Walk on Fire and featuring Rhian Edwards and John Goodby, artist Anthea Millier, and local poets and writers:

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Meanwhile, regular events continue in the town:  Angela France’s Buzzwords featuring David Clarke and Cliff Yates on 2 October, Cheltenham Poetry Society’s ‘Views on Ted Hughes’ night on 4 October, Poetry Café – Refreshed at Smokey Joe’s on Wednesday 19 October, Cheltenham Poetry Society’s regular poetry reading group and writing group meetings on 18 and 25 October.  In other Gloucestershire towns, monthly writing/poetry groups run by Rona Laycock in Cirencester and Miki Byrne in Tewkesbury will be meeting at New Brewery Arts and The Roses Theatre respectively.

Yes, October is a month of feasting on poetry!