Cast in a wide range of poetic forms, Saunder’s work is varied in mood and theme, moving from the lyrical and intimate to meditations on war and explorations of the history and culture of Cornwall. This collection contains most of Saunders’ poetry in Cornish to date. The poems are accompanied by the author’s own prose translations into English, giving the reader with no knowledge of Cornish a strong sense of the power of his writing.
Tim Saunders is one of the leading poets writing in Cornish today. He is the author of poetry and jounalism in Welsh, Irish and Breton as well as Cornish and he is the editor of The Wheel – an anthology of modern poetry in Cornish 1850–1980. He is a bard of the Cornish Gorseth.
‘No other writer in Kernewek has produced anything comparable to it.’
Two New Poems by Tim Saunders
Kornel an Kyzbrenjy
a’worwel peub tra welyz:
ledrow nywlennvyw lec’hvryn
ow’ penna parwyz dhy’nn byz.
Nell ha’ nerth
tuz ow’ tonez a-gyzgerth:
kri kryv ewnder a’dhassyn,
dyc’htya gwiryow pren ha’ gwerth.
Gwerth ha’ pren
lavarow trist po lawen:
omma traweîth y trokkyyn
kuvweithrez po kovow len.
Trydhlyn ganz mir dhy bezwar parth,
gwlazgordh ann marth war vor ha’ tir,
ha’nn fordhow loezzir ow’ strotha ann garth.
World’s early morning
places a horizon round all things visible:
slopes of a slate hill alive with mists
setting a wall for the world.
Vigour and strength
of people coming together in common right:
strong cry of justice echoes,
dealing with the rights of buying and selling.
Selling and buying
of sad or joyous speech:
here at times we shall exchange
kind act or honest memories.
Let us dawdle with a glance to the four points of the compass,
in the kingdom of wonder on sea and land,
as the long grey roads bind the ridge.
Nanz an Bargoz
edhn a’vynn a vodh awel,
marc’hogaeth tro dr’y maesow
heb gwoskeuz nâ’ chwrr nâ’ c’hel.
ow’ lymna lethrow gwinwiw:
skovarneug ha’ skeuz ankow
a’we war-barth a-dreus riw.
kanna kommol ez gwavrew,
praz ha’ prysk a’grynwolow,
eudh kri moan dhy bluv ha’ blew.
Mar dromm ha’ poes ganz toth ann tan
dre’nn aer gloar lan y’koedh sterenn gloes:
a glyw kloc’h egloes, nown dhy gig a’wan.
A bird will wander
a battlefield at the behest of breeze,
riding towards its fields
without shelter or boundary or concealment.
Floods of colour
painting slopes worthy of wine:
a hare and the shadow of death
weave together across a slope.
cloud brighter than winter frost,
meadow and bushes light shiveringly,
horror of a thin cry to feathers and fur.
So suddenly and heavily with the speed of fire
through the cool clear air falls a star of pain:
within hearing of a church bell, hunger stabs into flesh.
Tim Saunders’ Cornish-language poem cycle, Awen, Aval and Awedh is currently in preparation, with stunning lino cuts by Tim Roberts. The poems are translated into English by Alan M Kent. Available iin a limited edition in 2010.