Senryu – ‘O Humble Green Leek’ – A poem by Goff James

‘Gwisg genhinen yn dy gap, a gwisg hi yn dy galon’

‘Dress a leek in your cap, and wear it in your heart’.

Both the leek and daffodil are Welsh national symbols; and are worn to celebrate St David’s Day on March 1st.

The Welsh word for leek is ‘Cennin’. The Welsh term for daffodil is “Cennin Pedr”.

The leek has been long recognized as an emblem of Wales.

In 1537 princess Mari Tudur, daughter of Henry VIII, received leeks from the guard’s yeomanry to celebrate St David’s Day.

William Shakespeare, in his play King Henry V in 1598, writes of the the king telling Fluellen (Llywelyn) that he wore the leek proudly ‘because he was Welsh’.

The daffodil became associated with St David’s Day in the 19th century.

The U.K. Prime Minister of the day, David Lloyd George (a Welshman) was a supporter of the daffodil, and he wore the flower at the investiture of the Prince of Wales, Edward VIII, in 1911.

Image and Poem Attribution © goffjamesart/photography/poetry

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Reference Attribution © BBC Wales History

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Poetry – ‘The Saint’s Tale’ – A poem for St. David’s Day by Goff James


The Saint’s Tale


In the land of Celtic legends

Filled with tales of fiery dragons

A time is told of hermits saints and sinners

That dwelt ‘pon Dewsland’s windswept cliffs

Where in ancient times

Clouded in the veil of darkest myths

Within the sound of crashing waves

And call of screeching gulls

In dreams foretold to Sandde of stag of

Leaping salmon and swarming summer bees

Atop a broken barren boulder

Beneath the open sky

David the son of Non was birthed

The line of Ceredig, Cunedda and Caergawch

And where in secret in caverns deep

Buried beneath the folding furrowed earth

Untold treasures sleep undisturbed

Amid hidden springs and wells

Where on one morn David early rose

With Teilo Aeddan and brother Ismael


On the banks of Alauna’s flowing river they toiled and

Built in thunder storm and rain their holy shrine

Boia Druid chieftain stood upon his fortressed crag

Looking towards Carn Llidi surveying the richness of his realm

From David’s distant hidden boggy hollow

A band of curling smoke he spied rising to the sun

It rose and rose and rose again in the fading light

Till it shrouded all the chieftain’s land

Boia sat from morn till dusk

Unfed unquenched upon his scar stoned throne

His furrowed brow deep with rage

And mind with hatred filled

In the breaking light of dawn

The angered chieftain with his tribesmen

Marched in haste with swords and spears in hand

To regain the stolen vale

As they travelled o’er the rain soaked marsh

An ague gripped their bodies forcing their demise

On turning homewards in the distance spied

The carcasses of their oxen scavenged by the crows


As the ailing chieftain upon his sick bed lay

In fevered dream a heavenly dove he espied

Alight upon an agèd hawthorn bush and into

Flames of bleeding blossom its barren branches burst

In the healing darkness Boia’s heart was touched

And with the rising of the morrow’s sun

The chieftain in peace returned to Glyn Rhosyn

Seeking blessèd forgiveness from the pious monks

Boia’s jealous wife much angered by the chieftain’s bold resolve

Scorning sent her naked maidens to bathe in David’s flowing stream

Flesh’s temptations overcome the brothers chanted loud

It is the chosen who will stay and the sinners who must flee

For the Siddi Dunwad’s head was axed and as her life ebbed away

Her scarlet ribboned blood flowed staining all the earth

Where it fell a healing spring arose with waters crystal clear

From the slope Satrapa fled with murder writ upon her face and hands

Across the ocean Lisci sailed when fire filled the sky

And scorched the land and beheaded Boia and his bride

In the sacred land of the verdant vale hid deep

Beneath the wooded hills this tale retold today





Glyn Rhosyn

River Alauna

St. David


Images and Poem Attribution © goffjamesart/photography/poetry

Click here to read more poetry by Goff James

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