A Pencaer Poem / Cerdd i Bencaer

Traeth Porthsychan Beach 2023
This poem was among the collection of papers which belonged to Ebenezer Chapel, Goodwick. Mr Ken Williams, (secretary to this Independent Chapel at the top of Stop&Call Hill), had kept it, and other poems safely. Whether the anonymous  poet had once been a member of the chapel is not known. It seems obvious that he was brought up at Pencaer in the early years of the 20th century. Can any one help us identify ‘ANON’?

[Where words in the poem appear in bold print, you may click to find more information]

Roedd y gerdd hon ymhlith y casgliad o bapurau a berthynai i Gapel Ebeneser, Wdig. Mr Ken Williams, (ysgrifenydd y Capel Annibynol hwn ar ben Rhiw Stop&Call), oedd wedi ei chadw, ynghýd â cherddi eraill yn ddiogel. Nid ydym yn gwybod a fu y bardd anhysbus yn aelod o’r capel. Ymddengys yn amlwg ei fod ef wedi byw ar Bencaer yn ystod hanner cyntaf yr 20fed ganrif. A all unrhyw un ein helpu i adnabod ‘ANON’?

[Lle y gwelwch eiriau mewn print bras yn y gerdd, cewch glicio  am fwy o wybodaeth]



When, each week I read my “Echo”,
As I turn it’s pages over,
To my mind there comes a ‘hiraeth’,
And a deep and poignant longing.
For the cliffs and bays and headlands,
Haunt of daw and chough and seagull,
Fretted by the fierce Atlantic.

Where I wandered in my childhood,
And my mind revives the picture,
Of the cliffs around Pwllderi,
High rocks splashed with gorse and heather,
Reaching upward – grey and mighty,
While the sea-waves, surging, seething,
Wash around their feet for ever.

And I hear again the calling
Of the circling, wheeling seagulls,
Lifting as the wind blows shoreward,
Mingled with the doleful wailing
Of the mating seals that harbour
In the caves around Pen-bwchdu.

Then my vision travels onward
Westward round the headland passing
To those other bays and inlets
When in spring the cowslips blossom
With the bluebells in the crannies
Creeping down towards the water.

And I hear the sweetest music
In the manner of their naming,-
Dinas Mawr to Porth-maen-melyn,
Aber-hwch to Ogo las,
From Pwllderi to Llanwnwr,
Past the cliffs round Pwll-arian.

(Arian! – does the name not tell us
That some great Armada galleon
Perished there with all her treasure
Riven from her by the surges?
And the golden doubloons rolling,
Turning in the restless water,
And the seaweed’s chill embraces).

Who remembers now ‘Calberga’?
How she struck against the cliff-side,
And the groan her timbers uttered,
How they split and poured her cargo
Streaming into Porth-maen-melyn?
Who knows now where ‘Salus‘ foundered
On the rocky Ynys Michael?

On, around the stormy headland,
Through the farmyard at Llanwnwr,
(Where the Christian saints lie buried
Facing eastwards to the dawning),
Seeking for the Well of Degan,
Where the blind of old would gather
Finding healing in it’s waters.

Other people there now wander,
Gazing at the beauties round them.
Others on those fields are working
Or seek spoil of seaborn flotsam.
Gone are now the old traditions,
Gone, the tales of saints and shipwrecks.

May the headland of my birthplace
Bring to them the joy and pleasure
Which it brought to me, who knew it
In it’s days of storm and sunshine.
May they know it’s peace and beauty
And their spirits be made stronger
As they feel an inspiration
From the endless battle raging
On its rocks and cliffs forever.


(COUNTY ECHO  –  FEB. 26TH 1959)

Comments about this page

  • To me, this moving lament for a Pencaer childhood of long-ago seems unusual, as it is composed in English. The ten verses form a delightful historical journey around this beautiful landscape of west Wales. I do hope the writer can be identified.

    By Len Urwin (13/11/2023)

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