Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Calling on my better half

I've got a number of things I want to blog about, including some recently acquired vintage perfumes and a talk by Peter Schjeldahl we attended last night. But it's been a long day and my brain is pretty fogged, so I'll save my blathering for tomorrow and recruit my brilliant husband fill in for for me today. (Thanks, Dave.)

Go here to read Dave's recent review of a William Christenberry exhibit. Even if you are not a Christenberry fan, I think you'll find Dave's take on the artist's pet themes pretty interesting. If you aren't familiar with Christenberry, you can see some of his work at the online auction site, Artnet.

Dave has also done some fine entries lately at his blog, Perambulating the Bounds, including a review of Godard's Made in U.S.A. and a particularly interesting post on St. Augustine. (Dave doesn't do permalinks, so just click over to the blog and scroll down.)

I'm off to see if I can stay awake long enough to do some reading. See you tomorrow.

Gourd Tree, William Christenberry, 1974. Image from Artnet

Monday, March 30, 2009

"To be free and be close to god"

I said those words, years ago, to a shrink who asked me what I wanted most in life. Reading it now, I realize it must have sounded very pompous or just phony, but it was what popped into my head at that moment and it was—is—the truth. ...(Click here to read the rest.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Alone with our madness and favorite flower..."

Alone with our madness and favorite flower
We see that there really is nothing left to write about.
Or rather, it is necessary to write about the same old things
In the same way, repeating the same things over and over
For love to continue and be gradually different.

From "Late Echo" by John Ashbery. Read the complete poem at Poetry Foundation.

Solitude, Jean-Jacques Henner (1829-1905)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blogging the Madinis: Spring, Feriha and Fruittee

If you are looking for a scent that captures the damp, wild earthiness of early spring, or the sweet, girlish fragrance of a May Day bouquet, then don't bother with Madini's Spring. Exuberant and unsubtle, Spring is simply the greenest of green florals. The opening is a blast of citron and galbanum--imagine a glass of wheat grass juice with a twist--and it takes a good five minutes for the flowers in the heart to emerge. I detect freeesia primarily, with hints of lily and perhaps stephanotis. The bracing bitterness of the top quiets down a little, but continues to dominate the floral notes. There are no softening musk or resinous notes in the base--in fact, there really is no base that I can discern. Spring remains its unsweetened self to the end, which is a long time coming. This has to be one of the most tenacious fresh green scents I've ever encountered. I count that as a plus, but only confirmed fans of cut leaves are likely to enjoy this one.

Feriha strikes me as a calmer, more unisex version of Spring. It's got the same green citrus opening, though there's a touch of lemony sweetness that Spring lacks. The heart is also a bit sweeter, with subdued floral notes. Talisman's description makes a point of mentioning "essence of rose," and I'm not going to argue with them, but I wouldn't call Feriha a particularly rosy scent. What I notice most as the top fades is a light oakmoss note, very clean and pleasant--emphasis on "clean." Feriha is soapy in a good way, with a real "shower under a forest waterfall" quality.

Fruittee is yet another green Madini, but there's no grown-up bitterness here. As the name suggests, it's all about fruitiness, the fruit in question being green apple. If you love the smell of a just-cut Granny Smith, you'll probably like Fruittee, at least for sniffing. Personally, I can't imagine wearing this one on its own. It does blend well with Spring, and I imagine that fans of fruity florals would enjoy it with any of the Madini soliflores.

Photo of freesia from Wikimedia Commons, and apple pic likewise.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Quote of the day...

...in response to the endless discourse on bailouts, bonuses and the global financial catastrophe:

"Because of his social position there are left no limits to the power lust of the modern capitalist. He can interfere with inconsiderate egoism in the lives of his fellowmen and play the part of Providence for others. Only when we take into consideration this passionate urge for political power over their own people as well as over foreign nations are we able really to understand the character of the typical representatives of modern capitalism. It is just this trait which makes them so dangerous to the social structure of the future."

Rudolf Rocker, "The Insufficiency of Economic Materialism"*

*Chapter 1 of Nationalism and Culture. You can find links to Rocker's collected works and more information about him at Anarchy Archives

Monday, March 23, 2009


I expressed my inner ferret this morning. I had decided to do a little off-trail exploring before the ticks and poison ivy take back the woods for the season. I was trudging up a leaf-covered hillside and stopped to look at some sort of orange fungus that had sprouted on a fallen tree. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a patch of leaves move. At first I thought they were just being shifted by the breeze, but then they moved again. Something was definitely under there. ...(Click here to read the rest.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"My lover, my friend, my slave, my toy..."

Mine, says the cat, putting out his paw of darkness.
My lover, my friend, my slave, my toy, says
the cat making on your chest his gesture of drawing
milk from his mother’s forgotten breasts.

From "The Cat's Song" by Marge Piercy. Read the complete poem at Poetry Foundation.

Still-life with Cat and Rayfish, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, c.1728.

*This post is in memory of Binx and Harley, who have been on my mind. Thanks to Julie and Miko for inspiration.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Oh but the water loves me and folds me"

Over my sunlit skin the warm, clinging air,
Rich with the songs of seven larks singing at once, goes kissing me glad.
And the soul of the wind and my blood compare
Their wandering happiness, and the wind, wasted in liberty, drifts on and is sad.

Oh but the water loves me and folds me,
Plays with me, sways me, lifts me and sinks me as though it were living blood,
Blood of a heaving woman who holds me,
Owning my supple body a rare glad thing, supremely good.

From "The Wild Common" by D.H. Lawrence, 1921. Read the complete poem at Poetry Foundation.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Shy and secretive

The trail is like a progressive peep show right now. The squirrels are especially busy--playing their erotic chasing games, chattering dirty to each other. I keep wondering when one of them is going to fall on my head as they leap from tree to tree. It’s all very sweet. One of the charms of spring is all the procreative energy it sets loose.

So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised recently when I saw a used condom draped over a rock...(Click here to read the rest.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's been a beautiful day here,

...far too nice to sit hunched in front of the computer. Now that the evening has arrived, I want to get back to a very good book I'm reading, so blogging will have to wait until tomorrow. Please return then for a Madini post, or possibly some thoughts on outdoor sex. Meanwhile, here's some good stuff that deserves your attention:

If you are not a regular visitor to Mary's blog, Tea, Sympathy and Perfume, you may have missed her launch of a second site devoted to her poetry, What the Moon Saw. Mary's work is beautiful and passionate. I'm so glad she's sharing it with us.

Jaime, aka jmcleod76, is offering up smart, funny perfume reviews from a genderqueer perspective at Smells like Boi. Go check 'em out.

Neil Robertson's blog, The Bleeding Heart Show, has been on my blogroll for quite a while, but Neil's been doing some especially fine posts lately, and he made the longlist for the 2009 Orwell Prize. If you haven't been reading him, now's a good time to start.

I recently discovered a very good feminist blog based in New Zealand, The Hand Mirror. It's got a slew of contributors and there's always a new post. They cover it all, from cupcakes to abortion.

Reading Woman, Pieter Janssens Elinga, c.1660-1680. Image from Web Gallery of Art.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"As long as the bumblebee visits a rose..."

On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

From "A Song on the End of the World" by Czeslaw Milosz, 1944. Complete poem at Poetry Foundation.

Photo by Mila Zinkova from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, March 16, 2009

Old age agenda

Julie at Everything is Interesting asked her readers for post ideas, and I suggested that she could do a post about her vision of her old age. I think I phrased it as “hopes” for her old age, because I tend to see the issue in pretty positive terms. Becoming old seems like a gift to me--something to look forward to, in the same way that a child dreams about what her grown-up life will be like. I’m curious to know what sort of fantasies people carry around for their superannuated selves. I don’t know if Julie will devote one of her excellent posts to the subject, but since nothing else of interest crossed my blogging radar today, I’ve decided to take my own advice and make a few wishes out loud for my own old age (assuming, of course, that I keep kicking that long.)

1) I want to own next to nothing. I don’t want to be hungry or destitute, of course, but I’d like to be free of lust for material things. In my solitary fantasy, I live in a small room or a tiny house with nothing but books, a bed and the means to write. Maybe I’ll have a violin, although I have a sneaking suspicion that my aging fingers are going to rebel against the strain of playing long before I am entirely decrepit. If Dave has stuck it out with me, he’ll have his own corner full of books and music, but he’ll want little else, having joined me in renouncing the burden of stuff. (Hey, I said this was a fantasy.)

2) I hope to be outdoors even more than I am now. I may move more slowly, but I’ll make up for it with the tenacity of a cantankerous crone as I wander through any wild place I can get to. I like to imagine myself as an old woman of the woods, drinking whiskey with Dave around a campfire.

3) Since ambition and self-consciousness are absurdities once you reach a certain age, I hope to be freed from all the self-created obstacles to writing. I’ll just say whatever the fuck I have to say and move on, without agony. Some people might appreciate this. Maybe I will get some attention, but I won’t care whether I do.

4) I want to find more ways to be useful in the world, to be less selfish and self-involved. That’s a ridiculously tall order for a lifelong navel-gazer like me, but I have seen this pattern in other people, where an intense self-centeredness in middle age gives way to a practical concern for others that dominates the end of life. I would love to be like that.

There’s more, but I’ll stop for now. Feel free to share your own daydreams for the future.

Old Woman at the Mirror, Bernardo Strozzi. c.1615. Image from Web Gallery of Art. (I wish I'd found this in time for the "Ferocious Crone" post. This seems like a perfect depiction of what I don't want to become.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009


It’s been wet and gloomy here for several days. We’ve had enough rain to push all the creeks up a few inches. Streams meander throughout the park where I’ve been walking lately, and the sound of rushing water can be heard everywhere, accompanied by a steady drip from the trees. While the water’s voice fills the air, moisture softens the carpet of leaves and stifles the usual rustle of wind and wildlife. Twice in the past two days I have startled large groups of white-tailed deer, and they’ve bounded away like ghosts, their hooves silent against the soaked ground. ...(more)

Something exquisite for Sunday

Mahler's Symphony No.5, "Adagietto," performed by the Vienna Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein conducting.

Originally up loaded by vvozzek at Youtube

Thursday, March 12, 2009

This is a self-portrait

For me, the most joyful part of writing is the intellectual quest. I respect the value of intuitive understanding, but I find there is a particular satisfaction in knowledge that can be expressed with clarity, in simple words. I love trying to hack a verbal trail toward an idea or insight that's distant and indistinct. The process is an act of faith, because there's never any guarantee that the conceptual grail is going to be worth the work it takes to reach it. As often as not, it turns out to be a dud or a phony once you get a good look.

I don't really mind that, though, since I can at least feel that I've satisfied my curiosity, if not my ego. The tough times come when I find myself, like my monkey friend here, engaged with an intellectual task that exceeds my abilities. For several days now, ever since Dave and I saw Silent Light, I've been working on a post about beauty and religion, about how spiritual feeling and aesthetic feeling are intertwined--even, arguably, identical. This issue is a perennial favorite of philosophers, so I've been having fun trying to make sense of the various schools of thought on the matter. Unfortunately, I can't seem to write a coherent sentence of my own without immediately wanting to take it back.

I am lost in the woods. So I figured I'd just write a post about that, and post a poem about it.

Whether this is time or snow, passing
Through the night, earthward,
Who can tell—
Each particle only an illusion; yet massing,
Mounting over all,
Hushing the footfall,
Silencing the bell.

“I am confused,”
Said the traveler, “hearing no sound
Though my feet touch the ground
As they are used.”

From "White Darkness" by Virginia Hamilton Adair. Complete poem at Poetry Foundation

The Monkey Painter, Alexandre Gabriel Decamps, 1833. Image from Web Gallery of Art.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blogging the Madinis: Sahara and Alma de Alma

Sahara and Alma de Alma are both built around a pretty amber/citron accord, but they put it to work in very different ways. Sahara's opening has a hefty dose of citrus, giving it a distinctly masculine character in its first moments. Madini's signature amber, which is old school--sweet and rich--emerges quickly to mellow things out, and Sahara seems quite unisex from that point on. The citrus note hangs on in a secondary role, and myrrh in the base keeps the sugariness of the amber under control. Although there aren't any discernible green notes, the overall effect is fresh, almost like a fougere. This is a scent that wouldn't seem out of place on a walk in the woods (or the desert, I suppose.)

Alma de Alma, by contrast, is a perfect sugar rush of a scent. The citron is there, but it's definitely the candied variety. Talisman lists musk as a note, and that seems plausible, though it's so thoroughly melded with the amber that I can't separate the two. Alma de Alma doesn't really evolve as it dries down, but it does expand. The delicate sweetness of the opening is unchecked as the citron fades, so it becomes heavy and unsubtle. The whole experience is a little like being smothered with a velvet pillow--not bad in the beginning, but increasingly intolerable as time passes.

That said, Alma de Alma is a fantastic blending scent. It provides a gorgeous base for any of the Madini soliflores. Not surprisingly, it partners very nicely with Sahara, creating a smooth, soothing nectar.

Adam and Eve, Jan van Scorel, c.1540. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's been a long day

BitterGrace is weary beyond words. She'll post tomorrow. Meanwhile, here's a question for the perfume crowd:

Farnesiana or L'Heure Bleue?

And for the literary contingent:

Katherine Anne Porter or Eudora Welty?

The Sleeping Spinner, Gustave Courbet, 1853

Monday, March 9, 2009

"The cry of my heart sparkles like a star"

It is night and these words come to me
By the call of my voice words come to me

What fire blazes in me, what water do I get?
From my body, the fragrance of my soul comes to me

I do not know from where these great words come
The fresh breeze takes loneliness away from me

That from the clouds of light comes this light
That there is no other wish that comes to me

The cry of my heart sparkles like a star
And the bird of my flight touches the sky

From "Ghazal" by Nadia Anjuman, translated by Khizra Aslam.

Anjuman was a young poet from Herat, Afghanistan who was beaten to death by her husband in 2005. The complete text of this poem, along with more of her work, can be found at this web page. There is a Wikipedia stub on her here.

For more information about the ghazal as a poetic form, go here.

Expulsion, Moon and Firelight, Thomas Cole, c.1828. Image from Web Gallery of Art.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Silent Light

I am always a little suspicious of obscure movies that get raves from major critics. I generally find that they are obscure for good reasons and don't live up to the hype. Carlos Reygadas' Silent Light, as it turns out, does live up to the hype, but I can certainly understand why it's obscure.

Set in a Mennonite community in Mexico, it tells the story of a love triangle between Johan, his wife Esther and the other woman, Marianne. As if the very idea of an adultery flick featuring Mennonites weren't enough to put people off, the dialogue is almost entirely in Plautdietsch, a Low German dialect full of pinched vowels that don't fall sweetly on uncomprehending ears. Another challenge is Reygadas' intense, static directorial style. The camera moves so little that the film almost seems like a series of still shots, and Reygadas lingers far longer over quiet moments between the actors than most moviegoers can comfortably tolerate.

In other words, this movie asks for a lot of patience and indulgence from the viewer, but it offers a very rich experience in return. I have never seen a depiction of infidelity that captures the pain of everyone involved the way this film does. The genius of setting the story among Mennonites, who don't romanticize marriage or celebrate the ego, is that it lifts the drama away from the usual cliches about betrayal or the death of love. The problem confronting Johan, Esther and Marianne is how to determine what is love, and what is not; or, to put it in in their terms, to know whether the love Johan and Marianne feel is a gift from God or the work of the "Enemy." Everyone in Silent Light is trapped, not by weakness or romantic illusion, but by the desire to do what is right and good.

As the story progresses, the mundane human drama expands into the realm of myth and miracles; but it does so gradually, and with such a light hand that there's no opportunity for the viewer to draw away and resist. As the film nears its end, something literally unbelievable happens, but by that time we've entered the Mennonite universe, where the reality of such things is unquestioned. The film has prepared us to accept the miracle and ponder its meaning, just as the characters would.

In addition to its narrative brilliance, this film is incredibly beautiful. Every shot is perfectly composed, and Reygadas invests his scenes with the natural sensuality of rural life. To get a sense of the dream-like beauty of the film, click here for a clip of its first five minutes.

The film's website, alas, is really not very good. There's a trailer there with English subtitles, but it was very glitchy every time I tried to play it. The trailer below has Spanish subtitles, but I think you'll get a sense of the film even if you can't read them. You can learn more about the movie at its Wikipedia page.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

"The dark seemed natural..."

When I woke up I was in a forest. The dark
seemed natural, the sky through the pine trees
thick with many lights.

I knew nothing; I could do nothing but see.
And as I watched, all the lights of heaven
faded to make a single thing, a fire
burning through the cool firs.

From "Trillium" by Louise Glück. Complete poem at Poetry Foundation.

Photo of a painted trillium from Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I want to be a ferocious crone

Julie had a good post at her blog recently about the anti-aging industry and how it seeks to warp our perceptions of ourselves. I couldn't agree with her more. It would be nice to think that we could just resist the propaganda, but it's become so pervasive that I don't believe it's possible to remain untouched by it. I made a conscious decision around the time I turned 40 not to pursue anything in the way of time-stopping strategies--no Botox, no chemical peels, no surgery, no hair dye--but the mere fact that I felt I had to decide shows just how far the issue has wormed its way into my consciousness.

The irony of our obsession with the cosmetic aspects of aging is that it distracts us from the real problems of getting older. Perhaps that's the point. It’s much easier to obsess about “fixing” wrinkles and sagging breasts than to ponder their meaning; i.e., that Death has turned the corner at the end of the block and is sashaying toward your door. Unfortunately, the end of life won’t come any later thanks to an eye lift, and every minute spent in the 100% futile effort to halt the body’s transformation is a bit of that precious life gone forever.

Actually, the things we do to look younger are worse than futile. I’m not talking about the medical disasters that leave women looking like Barbie after a turn in the microwave, though that seems to be an increasing problem. I’m thinking of all the opportunities to strengthen body and mind that we lose in the pursuit of make-believe youth. Let’s say I’ve got 2 hours and $150 dollars to spare. I can go for a long walk in the park, enjoy a really nice lunch with a friend, and have enough cash left over for a few good books; or I can sit in a salon, listen to the other customers gossip and complain, and let someone pour chemicals on my head. Which option will do more to keep me young?

I feel very lucky to have grown up around happy, fierce old women. Both my grandmothers seemed to thoroughly enjoy their lives past 70. They did as they pleased and spent very little time looking in the mirror. They were both beautiful, not because they looked young, but because they inhabited their old bodies with grace.

I feel lucky, too—in a perverse sort of way—to have had a taste of what the real challenges of aging might be like. Most of my 30s were spent disabled by severe anorexia. Years of semi-starvation gave me the body of an 80-year-old. My muscles wasted away, becoming stiff and weak as old rope. My skin was like paper. It would break or tear from the slightest impact. Pain was constant. There was no position I could sit or lie in that did not hurt. Because my legs didn’t work very well, it was hard to climb stairs, hard to keep my balance. I was incontinent.

Having lived through that and recovered, I just can’t attach any importance to my graying hair or my frown lines. Who gives a damn? The real ravages of age are decades away, if I’m lucky. Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy my body and get ready to be a fierce old woman.

Old Woman Reading a Bible, Gerrit Dou, c.1630. Image from Web Gallery of Art.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The nature of the beast

If you are a freelance writer, a wanna-be, or just one of those people who think the whole writing racket sounds like a sweet way to make a living, go here for some words of wisdom and inspiration (sort of) from Christopher Ketcham. I've never read anything that breaks it down so perfectly.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Blogging the Madinis: Fez and Maderas de Oriente

I assume Fez's name is a reference to the city, not the hat, but even so, this casual floral seems to be at odds with its label. The city is a center of culture and learning, and it's particularly famous for its tanneries. (This Youtube video has some great images of Fez--or more properly, Fes.) Madini's Fez doesn't have even a hint of hide, nor is it a highbrow, bookish sort of scent. It's a rich blend of rose, neroli, violet and mimosa over a sandalwood base. To my nose, it's almost a dead ringer for YSL Paris, but much less shrill, and not quite so aggressively feminine. It's also not as tenacious. I wouldn't call it fleeting, but it fades more quickly than a lot of the Madinis, leaving behind a clean, mellow skin scent, with just a hint of rose. Fez is one of my favorite Madinis, a real "wear anywhere" fragrance, with a cheerful, relaxed character.

Maderas de Oriente is a sort of mirror image of Fez. It gives the woody element center stage and puts the flowers in the background. It opens with a sweet, fresh combination of cedar and a birch-like note, and I also seem to get a hint of mandarin. The floral notes emerge in the heart: primarily orange blossom, accompanied by rose and henna flower. M de O is one of those scents that gets louder and sharper as it develops. Not that it's ever a screamer, but I find it calls more attention to itself an hour into wearing than it does when I first apply it. The overall effect never becomes "flowery," but the floral notes do seem to boost the sillage considerably. Given the name of the perfume and the overall Madini aesthetic, you'd expect there to be an oud note, but if it's present I can't detect it. The base of Maderas de Oriente is just a smooth sandalwood, with a touch of rather bright moss. If you are addicted to the sugar-laden woods of Lutens, or the ultra-dry JCE creations, then Maderas de Oriente might not be your thing. It has much more in common with a classic woody chypre such as Halston.

Photo of a gate in Fes by Bernard Gagnon from Wikimedia Commons.

Click here for a nice article about the city of Fes from the NY Times.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

It's St. David's Day

It's the day to honor all things Welsh, so with that in mind, here's Dafydd ap Gwilym, pursuing a metaphor:

A Girl, a Bird and a Birch-tree

A lover's choicest desire,
oh Lord God, will there come before long
(if his stout praise be ready)
4 a splendid girl and an eloquent bird?
There was not (despite learning to watch)
for a loving lad, pale and modest,
a craft as pleasant (despite a flood of passion)
8 as caring for a girl who was loved
and walking (spending a long time)
the nooks and clusters of trees
like a huntsman, a lively sportsman,
12 who for a wild deer would chase
from place to place in passion,
from grove to grove (a second Enid [is she]),
and a little bird who keeps sense for us
16 on the edge of the sky praising her.

[With] a clear voice, call the girl like Esyllt
would the worthy and wild messenger,
with a golden beak, on a twig,
20 by his faith, seeing [the] girl.
Pleasant (were the tears that flow to allow it)
would be clearly to hear
the great exuberance of the bird of May
24 under the verdant birch of the splendid girl,
a radiant knight with a skilful tune,
golden on verdant leaves.
He would sing a lively harmony
28 from hour to hour, [it was] great pain when he was [doing so].
He would not go, fine, gentle tone,
silver-voiced bird, from any grove
(a clear, high, thoughtful song)
32 more than a hermit would (narrow branches).

It would be fitting, in houses of birch,
if the bird would come to the grove of leaves,
small birch-trees with snug stockings,
36 a gentle basket, green and pretty,
a fair birch-tree with a roof of hair of the same age,
a splendid tower on the brow of the hill.
Growth without the hewing of an adze,
40 a house, on a single pillar it grows.
A green posy of enchanting throngs of an embrace of leaves,
whisks standing on stubble,
dark-furred, May's dandy,
44 a verdant, thick roof, God's blessing on it.

It was a pleasant craft, by the relic,
to kiss a girl of a constant word,
and to look, after our fine passing of time
48 between ourselves (bands of sunlight)
through the mantle of my glorious woman,
[at the] hills, pennies of lust,
and to bend [my] body
52 (blue eyes today, of a weak colour,
the beauty of a gem of radiant praise)
over the girl who committed deceit.

Translation of "Merch, Aderyn a Bedwen" from Dafydd ap Gwilym.net, a site maintained by the Welsh Dept. of Swansea University. (Go here to read the poems. Click on the Welsh title in the dropdown menu, and then click on the lower right menu for the English translation.)

Photo of a daffodil (which, along with the leek, is a national symbol of Wales) from Wikimedia Commons