Dysgwr by Brett Evans

Learner – Welsh

To speak, says a voice from the laptop,
Siarad. The cat curled up to his Western
hip, content in her dormancy. Siarad.
It is his father’s tongue and he fears
another long, futile fight though itches
for something to start. To start. Dechrau.
The thing father and son never made fresh.
Then he hears it. That th. Not dechrau
but Dw i newydd ddechrau.

Bull-headed bastards is why there was never
that start. One refused to speak to the other.
Siarad. To speak. Refused to learn
from the other. To learn. Dysgu. Dysgu.
Here in mid-forties, and the father six years
dead, does he tackle the language,
lay down shame and anger at its absence.
To learn. Dysgu. He repeats out loud. Words
alien, yet familiar. They too were familiar, alien.

Then there it is again. Th. Dw i’n mynd i ddysgu.
The voice says not to worry, that such mutations
he’ll take to naturally. The cat stirs, stretches her
claws. Interesting, he thinks – diddorol,
dw i’n meddwl bo’ hi’n ddiddorol.*

*I think that is interesting – Welsh


Brett Evans lives, writes, and drinks in his native North Wales. Brett is co-editor at poetry and prose journal Prole, his two pamphlets ‘The Devil’s Tattoo’ (2015) and ‘Sloth and the Art of Self-deprecation’ (2018) are published by Indigo Dreams. Brett believes that dogs make for a happier life.

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