It hardly seems possible that the summer is waning, and with it, the rush of special events and concerts that filled my calendar for so many weeks.  It's time to rewind a little and begin catching up on my news and blog pages. 

On May 5, I received the wonderful honor of being named 'The Chaired Bard,' at the 6th Welsh Weekend For Everyone.  An Eisteddfod is held every year in Wales, and being named Chaired Bard is a great honor in that country. 

My prize chair with the red dragon cushion, sitting  in the green woods.Eisteddfod literally means, 'the sitting.'  When it is held during Wisconsin Welsh weekend celebrations, it's a writing/poetry contest where the winner is knighted in traditional ceremony and presented with the Eisteddfod Chair.  A new chair is created each year by Mary Williams-Norton.  This year, she found a great old chair in an antique shop, and made a cushion and pillow for the seat.  The Ddraig Goch (red dragon) fabric was imported from Wales, and she really outdid herself!

I almost didn't enter my poem, in fact, I left it on my desk and had to drive back home to get it.  I was really surprised and honored when it won first place.  You see, when you enter something in an Eisteddfod, you don't use your real name, you choose a Welsh pseudonym.  All of the entries are read, and the name of the winning poet is called out three times.  After the third time you stand to identify yourself.  Then you come forward to be knighted, (yes, with a real sword!), for your work.  

In past years, I was always deeply moved by the ceremony, as well as the fact that the Welsh culture holds poetry, music, and art in such high esteem they knight artists for their work.My chair sitting next to the weathered boards of our barn.  I never thought I would be the recipient of such an honor.  To the best of my knowledge, there is no Welsh ancestry in my family, but Celtic blood runs deep.  I was introduced to the Welsh culture through some very dear friends of mine - friends for whom my poem was written.  Welsh weekends and Gymanfa Ganu (hymn sings), are like family reunions.  Everyone is welcome.  The Welsh are born singing four part harmony!  If you've never been to a hymn sing, you're missing something special.  I'll try to post more pictures from this year's weekend celebration at a later date.

My chair has a place of honor in my practice room.  It's is a very special chair - beckoning for a moment of rest and contemplation when it found it's way into the woods.   We live in a wildwood - a good place for songwriters and poets!  

Our border collie, Ginny, sitting next to my special chair  

 

 

Our Border Collie, Ginny, looks right at home herding the Welsh Red Dragons!   She is our little shadow when we are outside and isn't shy about having her picture taken.

 

Welsh Flag/Red Dragon on green and white field

 

 

 

 

 


Here is my poem, and following, the story behind it.  The theme for the contest was, "Do The Right Thing.

       Fy Nhroed Dde

       (My Right Foot)

Along this unbroken journey,

Of threescore years and a few odd,

My Left, my Right and I together,

With countless steps have trod.

I thought we three would walk forever,

Through endless day and night,

But suddenly my Left and I,

Must go on without our Right.

The grief of misfortuned parting,

Washed over us wave upon wave,

As a hurricane drives the sea before it,

Sweeping ev’rything away.

Tho’ somehow through loss and imperfection,

We glean the grains of perfection we seek,

While Light beyond each bend in the road,

Gives strength to the weary and weak.

So with thanks I bid farewell to Right,

For it gave Left and I the chance,

First to walk, then to run,

And finally to dance.

The memory of how we moved,

Lives within, rehearsed and refined,

As my Left, new Right and I together,

Summon the dance, one step at a time.


Hafgan Medeni - (my Welsh pseudonym)

(meaning - Summer Song, Born In September)

Copyright 2012 - Diane Lasceski-Michaels

This poem was written for my friend, Joe Corbin, and his family after he lost his right foot in an accident in November of 2011.  It took a lot of courage to do the right thing and make a very difficult decision in order to move forward with their lives.  I didn't write the poem with the intention of sending it out into the world because their experience was a very personal one, but Joe's wife, Kim, suggested that I enter it in the Eisteddfod.  In freely expressing the emotion surrounding great loss, perhaps healing can also be a shared experience.


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Diane's new single, an original, finger-style guitar tune, "Afternoon By A Stream," is out now on iTunes!

You can also purchase a download directly through CD Baby on Diane's SHOP page.

 

An image of a young boy wading in a shallow stream surrounded by moss-covered, sandstone cliffs