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Y Plas – new poem by the National Poet of Wales

16/09/2013

The National Poet of Wales has composed a brand new poem to celebrate the start of S4C's first ever living history series, Y Plas.

Poet, dramatist, editor and translator, Gillian Clarke is originally from Cardiff but now lives in Talgarreg in Ceredigion, a stone's throw away from where the living history series will be filmed, at the Llanerchaeron Country House.

Y Plas is a living history series which will take a crew of people back to the Wales of 1910. The series kicks off on S4C on Sunday 15 September at 8.30pm and will be on the Channel every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday until 6 October.

On Y Plas we will see one family and twelve other individuals live in the Llanerchaeron Country House for three weeks under the conditions as they would have been in Wales in 1910. The family will live in luxury upstairs whilst the other twelve will live to serve as servants and maids downstairs. How will they cope trying live like their forefathers? And what will the atmosphere be like in the Country House as it wakes up from its hundred-year slumber?

Menna Elfyn is a poet, dramatist and full time author from Llandysul. Menna has translated many of Gillian's works and has also translated this special poem Y Plas into the Welsh language.

Y Plas

A slip in time and the house wakes

as if a hundred years had never happened.

Cock-crow and daybreak, clogs on the cobbled yard,

water brought from the well in a clatter of pails.

There's a cluck of hens, a basket of brown eggs,

for every grate a scuttle-full of coal.

Leaning her cheek against a cow's warm flank,

a milk-maid rings a milk-stream into a pail.

A pat of butter glistens fresh from churning

beside six cooling loaves on the kitchen table

My lady wakes. A jug of water steams

on the wash stand, clothes laid ready for her day.

Coal glows in the grate. Her lord rides out

to see his men turn hay in the morning sun.

Here children write on slate, count on an abacus,

speak when spoken to. Under this roof,

born rich, or poor, gentry or servant, you wake

with the house from a hundred years of sleep.

Gillian Clarke

For more information on the series visit s4c.co.uk/yplas. Click on the Welsh page to read Menna Elfyn's Welsh translation.

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