NIGEL HUMPHREYS POET

Blog

The poetry of Dafydd ap Gwilym and Imaddadin Nesimi

Posted by Nigel Humphreys on November 28, 2010 at 6:14 AM

I was very privileged to be invited by the Gruntlers International Arts Group in conjunction with Azerbaijan House to compliment an evening’s tribute to the poet Imaddadin Nesimi by introducing the poetry of Dafydd ap Gwilym, a 14th century Welsh poet. The event took place in November 2010 at Pushkin House, Bloomsbury Square, which is the centre of Russian cultural activities in London before a large cosmopolitan audience graced by the Ambassador of Azerbaijan. Dafydd ap Gwilym was for a brief time a contemporary of Nesimi though, of course, they would never have met living in different continents and it’s unlikely they would have known about each other.

 

Both were contemporaries of Chaucer of course and wrote in a century which absolutely boomed poetry with the verse of Petrach, Dante and Boccaccio; but it has to be said that Dafydd’s poetry has more in common with Chaucer and Boccaccio than Nesimi. What Dafydd does have in common with Nesimi, however, is that he too was an itinerant, little is known of his life other than what can be gleaned from his verse, he wrote in a strict meter and became his nation’s iconic poet.

 

Nesimi was an early Sufi poet and mystic of the Ottoman Empire. He wrote in Turkish, Arabic and Persian. It is believed that he took his name from the village of Nesim near Baghdad. Dafydd’s immediate genealogy is well known, however, and he seems to have come from a well-to-do family (Dafydd ap Gwylim translating to David son of William). In his poetry Nesimi expressed the belief that God was at the centre of all creation and that it was the purpose of human life to subjugate the concept of self in order to become as one with God. This was considered to be blasphemous and Nesimi was executed by being flayed alive at Aleppo. His tomb there has become a place of pilgrimage.

 

Unlike Nesimi Dafydd was no mystic though he certainly wrote devotional poetry. His religious beliefs seem to be conventionally Christian. He is, however, better known for his bawdy, earthy subject matter. I happen to live very close to his birthplace. You can still visit its ruins in my village of Penrhyncoch, near Aberystwyth - you just have to follow the signs. And he’s traditionally buried under a Yew Tree close to the ruins of Strata Florida Cistercian Abbey some 12 miles south of where I live. Dafydd ap Gwylim is considered to be the finest of all Welsh poets and there is no doubt that his blend of a bardic tradition with a more radical approach lifted Welsh poetry into the mainstream of European literature. He is considered to be one of the finest of all Medieval poets.

 

Like Nesimi very little is known of his life apart from the local references in his verse. He appears to have been a minstrel or troubadour but rarely travelled outside of Wales. His verse, steeped in the oral tradition, would have been memorised and recited to the accompaniment of a lute. Nothing survives which was actually written down by Dafydd. He brought to the poetic formalities of the time a flamboyant, vernacular style and a new levity. But it's mainly because he avoided the usual topics such as courtly love and legend, and wrote about pretty much anything that he is stands out from other poets of that time. For example as a nature poet he treats his species of birds and seasons in an easy and ironic manner. You might expect his poem about an owl, Y Dylluan, for instance written in the Middle Ages to be either romantic, mythic or idyllic. A eulogy on wisdom perhaps. Dafydd’s owl was clearly a pain in the arse, preventing him from sleep.

 

Many of his poems were addressed to the love of his life, Morfydd, who inconveniently for him just happened to be married to a local Aberystwyth merchant. It didn’t seem to put him off much and the dalliance apparently went on for years. The raven-haired Dyddgu was another of his long time loves. He also wrote about the girls of Llanbadarn parish who refused to go to bed with him and there’s even an ode to his penis which got him into a lot of trouble – his penis, that is, not the poem.

 

Although innovative and radical in his subject matter Dafydd wrote in a strict meter which is almost impossible to replicate in English. His poems are called Cywydds and, like Nesimi’s Ghazals, consist of rhyming couplets with each line limited to 7 or 8 syllables only; and within these very short lines there would be other poetic devices grouped under the heading Cynghaneddau, such as alliteration, internal and assonant rhyme, maybe all three in one line. He also used the device of asides – little two or three word phrases commenting on the narrative. He may have inserted these on occasions when he struggled for a rhyme. They’re difficult to deal with in transcription. In any event most translations shy away from any attempt to stick to the strict meter and end up as loose paraphrases.

 

Nesimi’s ghazals consist of between five and twenty-five self-contained couplets in so much as each couplet is a poem in itself. There are no enjambments and each couplet line shares the same meter. The second line of each, called the Sher, usually ends with the repetition of a refrain or rhyme, known as a Radif. The first couplet of each ghazal rhymes and the same rhyme, or refrain, is continued in the second lines of each succeeding couplet as in aa, ba,ca, da, etc.

 

One telling difference which posterity may address is that during the evening we were shown a short film about the life of Nesimi. To my knowledge no such film about Dafydd exists. Come on, you Welsh film makers!

Here, by way of a taster, is one of my transcriptions of perhaps the best known of Dafydd’s light verse. I have tried, as well as the English language will permit, to replicate the original meter and poetic devices.

 

 

Trouble at Inn

I came to my chosen city

with my fare valet with me.

Lavish spending, good tuck,

Being proud since boyhood I took

Lodgings, reputably fine,

Popular, and drank some wine.

A fair lean wench I espied

In the house, a comely maid

And I fell for the slim dear one

The colour of the dawn sun.

I bought a roast (not to boast)

For me and her with wine that cost.

Young men love to rove a treat

So I called the lass to my seat

And we ate a meal of great taste,

Better than any wedding feast.

Bold and gallant, I whispered

Two powerful magical words.

And after the ice had been thawed

By whispers (t’was a close call)

And love being not idle, I made

A date to meet this feisty maid,

This dark-browed damsel when,

The company to sleep had gone.

.

All turned in, how pityful,

Except myself and the girl.

I sought out skilfully

The girl's bed; but oh calamity!

As I fell over I called out,

Very angry, it was poor sport.

Cos I didn’t jump well I hit

My shin loudly, my poor limb,

On the edge, (t’was the ostler’s bungle),

Of an idiot stool, above my ankle.

Being to eager is bad

With no easy jump and the repeated

Treachery of crashing about,

The table gave my head a clout

Where a bowl and resounding

Brass pan had stood there lingering.

The table fell, a stout piece,

The double trestle, the whole place.

The pan behind me clattered,

Heard a long way ahead.

The basin thundered (crass I was)

And the dogs barked after me.

Easier it was to rise awry,

A fool’s jest, than quickly.

I got up (what a palaver)

From the floor, Wales for ever!

And near the high walls there stunk

Three English men in one bunk

Fretting about their haversacks,

Hickin and Jenkin and Jack.

The drunken one among them

Hissed to the two in high dudgeon,

‘There’s a Taff, set on skulduggery

Roaming in here most archly,

He'll rob us, if we let him,

Take care, stay clear of ‘im.'

The landlord aroused everyone

With the grievous tale he spun.

All nine of them searched without

For me making bold about

While I, in ugly bruises

Kept silent in the darkness.

I prayed, not in a loud way,

But in secret like one in dismay

And by the might of intense prayer

In Jesus’s faithful care,

I got back, what a sleepless muddle!

To my lair without further trouble.

I had escaped, thanks to the saints,

And I beg the Lord for forgiveness.

Categories: None

Post a Comment

Oops!

Oops, you forgot something.

Oops!

The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In

9 Comments

Reply AndrewDiock
1:42 AM on April 17, 2021 
https://fedorovkarb.ru Silane Guard - ?????? ?????? ??? ????
????????! ??????? ?????????????? ?????? ?? 2-? ????! ?????? ?????? ?????? ????????? ?? ???????? ???????? Willson.
????????? ????? ? ?????????? ???? ??????, ??????? ??????? ????? ? ????????????????? ??????. ????? ???????? ??????? ?? 4 ????/??????????. https://fedorovkarb.ru

https://torgovaya.xyz/dhgate.com ????? ?????? ??????? ?????? ???????
Reply Elmerhom
8:33 AM on April 16, 2021 
http://marcoazwq89900.blue-blogs.com/4318856/
???????? PBN ????? ??????


@kkk
Reply Eric Jones
6:30 PM on March 23, 2021 
My name_s Eric and I just found your site nigelhumphreyspoet.com.

It_s got a lot going for it, but here_s an idea to make it even MORE effective.

Talk With Web Visitor _ CLICK HERE http://talkwithcustomer.com for a live demo now.

Talk With Web Visitor is a software widget that_s works on your site, ready to capture any visitor_s Name, Email address and Phone Number. It signals you the moment they let you know they_re interested _ so that you can talk to that lead while they_re literally looking over your site.

And once you_ve captured their phone number, with our new SMS Text With Lead feature, you can automatically start a text (SMS) conversation_ and if they don_t take you up on your offer then, you can follow up with text messages for new offers, content links, even just _how you doing?_ notes to build a relationship.

CLICK HERE http://talkwithcustomer.com to discover what Talk With Web Visitor can do for your business.

The difference between contacting someone within 5 minutes versus a half-hour means you could be converting up to 100X more leads today!

Eric
PS: Studies show that 70% of a site_s visitors disappear and are gone forever after just a moment. Don_t keep losing them.
Talk With Web Visitor offers a FREE 14 days trial _ and it even includes International Long Distance Calling.
You have customers waiting to talk with you right now_ don_t keep them waiting.
CLICK HERE http://talkwithcustomer.com to try Talk With Web Visitor now.

If you'd like to unsubscribe click here http://talkwithcustomer.com/unsubscribe.aspx?d=nigelhumphreyspoet
.com
Reply Eric Jones
12:05 PM on March 5, 2021 
Hey, my name_s Eric and for just a second, imagine this_

- Someone does a search and winds up at nigelhumphreyspoet.com.

- They hang out for a minute to check it out. _I_m interested_ but_ maybe__

- And then they hit the back button and check out the other search results instead.

- Bottom line _ you got an eyeball, but nothing else to show for it.

- There they go.

This isn_t really your fault _ it happens a LOT _ studies show 7 out of 10 visitors to any site disappear without leaving a trace.

But you CAN fix that.

Talk With Web Visitor is a software widget that_s works on your site, ready to capture any visitor_s Name, Email address and Phone Number. It lets you know right then and there _ enabling you to call that lead while they_re literally looking over your site.

CLICK HERE https://talkwithwebvisitors.com to try out a Live Demo with Talk With Web Visitor now to see exactly how it works.

Time is money when it comes to connecting with leads _ the difference between contacting someone within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes later can be huge _ like 100 times better!

Plus, now that you have their phone number, with our new SMS Text With Lead feature you can automatically start a text (SMS) conversation_ so even if you don_t close a deal then, you can follow up with text messages for new offers, content links, even just _how you doing?_ notes to build a relationship.

Strong stuff.

CLICK HERE https://talkwithwebvisitors.com to discover what Talk With Web Visitor can do for your business.

You could be converting up to 100X more leads today!

Eric
PS: Talk With Web Visitor offers a FREE 14 days trial _ and it even includes International Long Distance Calling.
You have customers waiting to talk with you right now_ don_t keep them waiting.
CLICK HERE https://talkwithwebvisitors.com to try Talk With Web Visitor now.

If you'd like to unsubscribe click here http://talkwithwebvisitors.com/unsubscribe.aspx?d=nigelhumphreysp
oet.com
Reply Eric Jones
7:30 PM on March 3, 2021 
My name_s Eric and I just found your site nigelhumphreyspoet.com.

It_s got a lot going for it, but here_s an idea to make it even MORE effective.

Talk With Web Visitor _ CLICK HERE http://talkwithcustomer.com for a live demo now.

Talk With Web Visitor is a software widget that_s works on your site, ready to capture any visitor_s Name, Email address and Phone Number. It signals you the moment they let you know they_re interested _ so that you can talk to that lead while they_re literally looking over your site.

And once you_ve captured their phone number, with our new SMS Text With Lead feature, you can automatically start a text (SMS) conversation_ and if they don_t take you up on your offer then, you can follow up with text messages for new offers, content links, even just _how you doing?_ notes to build a relationship.

CLICK HERE http://talkwithcustomer.com to discover what Talk With Web Visitor can do for your business.

The difference between contacting someone within 5 minutes versus a half-hour means you could be converting up to 100X more leads today!

Eric
PS: Studies show that 70% of a site_s visitors disappear and are gone forever after just a moment. Don_t keep losing them.
Talk With Web Visitor offers a FREE 14 days trial _ and it even includes International Long Distance Calling.
You have customers waiting to talk with you right now_ don_t keep them waiting.
CLICK HERE http://talkwithcustomer.com to try Talk With Web Visitor now.

If you'd like to unsubscribe click here http://talkwithcustomer.com/unsubscribe.aspx?d=nigelhumphreyspoet
.com
Reply annadlaw
9:20 AM on February 13, 2021 
How To Install: Smart Lock Pro, 3rd Gen Technology
Reply Eric Jones
6:19 PM on January 1, 2021 
Cool website!

My name_s Eric, and I just found your site - nigelhumphreyspoet.com - while surfing the net. You showed up at the top of the search results, so I checked you out. Looks like what you_re doing is pretty cool.

But if you don_t mind me asking _ after someone like me stumbles across nigelhumphreyspoet.com, what usually happens?

Is your site generating leads for your business?

I_m guessing some, but I also bet you_d like more_ studies show that 7 out 10 who land on a site wind up leaving without a trace.

Not good.

Here_s a thought _ what if there was an easy way for every visitor to _raise their hand_ to get a phone call from you INSTANTLY_ the second they hit your site and said, _call me now._

You can _

Talk With Web Visitor is a software widget that_s works on your site, ready to capture any visitor_s Name, Email address and Phone Number. It lets you know IMMEDIATELY _ so that you can talk to that lead while they_re literally looking over your site.

CLICK HERE http://www.talkwithwebvisitors.com to try out a Live Demo with Talk With Web Visitor now to see exactly how it works.

Time is money when it comes to connecting with leads _ the difference between contacting someone within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes later can be huge _ like 100 times better!

That_s why we built out our new SMS Text With Lead feature_ because once you_ve captured the visitor_s phone number, you can automatically start a text message (SMS) conversation.

Think about the possibilities _ even if you don_t close a deal then and there, you can follow up with text messages for new offers, content links, even just _how you doing?_ notes to build a relationship.

Wouldn_t that be cool?

CLICK HERE http://www.talkwithwebvisitors.com to discover what Talk With Web Visitor can do for your business.

You could be converting up to 100X more leads today!
Eric

PS: Talk With Web Visitor offers a FREE 14 days trial _ and it even includes International Long Distance Calling.
You have customers waiting to talk with you right now_ don_t keep them waiting.
CLICK HERE http://www.talkwithwebvisitors.com to try Talk With Web Visitor now.

If you'd like to unsubscribe click here http://talkwithwebvisitors.com/unsubscribe.aspx?d=nigelhumphreysp
oet.com
Reply GabrielSorgo
9:53 AM on September 25, 2020 
Join the Bitcoin System

Learn more: http://geralyn.enbos.xyz

Listen to our members who rely on our software to fund their luxury lifestyle:

Magda Boltyanski
I finally know what it means to live a dream. I no longer feel aloof while others are having fun. The Bitcoin system allowed me to retire early and now lead the lives of very wealthy people.
Karl Edwards
I was fired two weeks ago. I had no choice and thought my life was over. Now I make â?¬ 13,261.42 every day and for the first time in two months my account is no longer in the red. Thanks STEVE!

Meet Steve McKay
The genius of the Bitcoin system. Hello
- I am a former software developer for a large firm, which I mention the name as a giveaway
I Compared to early investors in Uber, Facebook or Airbnb, this software is creating millionaires in record time. If you want to make a million with Bitcoin, watch the video above to see how. Your friend, Steve McKay

Jump to be the first: http://jefferey.biorobot.xyz
Reply buying cheap cialis online
8:14 AM on August 25, 2020 
Cialis Femme Avis broasp https://artsocialist.com/ - Cialis affics The Purple Pharmacy sedpelry buy cheap cialis discount online enhand Pharmacie Canadienne Cialis