Public Poetry in Aberystwyth

Enough of this politics, let’s talk for a moment about something really important – poetry - public poetry.

Last week I attended the launch of a poetry trail at Llanfihangel Genau’r Glyn, more commonly known as Llandre, a few miles north of Aberystwyth. It was a well-attended, distinctively Welsh  event, filmed by S4C, to launch a quarter-mile woodland path. Along the path is interspersed verses of poetry on display boards written by people who live in, have lived in or have connections to the village. Opened by Jim Parc Nest, Archdruid of the Gorsedd of Bards, the chosen lines include pieces in both Welsh and English from people like Eisteddfod Chair winner Huw Meirion Edwards  and Greg Hill.

On the way home I thought of the lines of poetry recently embedded on Aberystwyth Promenade (see photo) as a small part of the Prom Regeneration Area scheme. The idea is that people will read these and dream as they gaze out across the sea.

On the other side of town, many of the corridor walls in Bronglais Hospital offer random lines of poetry. These were sponsored by the Arts in Health project Haul and written by the poets Elin ap Hywel and David Hart in response to their experiences at the hospital.

Put together, these projects begin to form a theme that acknowledges the value of poetry in the Aberystwyth area, where many writers live and where the National Library looks down on us from Penglais Hill. If this public poetry occasionally triggers the contemplative side of our minds and helps us to briefly step back from the material world then it will have done us all a service.

"Machlud tawel, halen yn yr awel" translates into English as, "Quiet sunset, salt in the breeze".