Friday, 31 August 2018

Tabm a Gernow 111 (Liwyow an Mor)

I am obsessed with the colour of the sea, so I thought I'd write a poem about it. Not so much Cornish this time, though.

Colours of the Sea

   When you stand right on the coast you get wrap-around vistas of the sea. If you live a mile inland, as I do, you must be content with glimpses of the sea between the hills. Every day I walk my dog on the hills over-looking the sea in Perran Bay. I can see an inverted triangle of water, framed between the sky above, the slopes of Bolingey on the left and the Perranporth sand dunes on the right; a few miles of horizon and just a yard or two of beach. Within its frame, every day the sea looks a different colour.
   The Cornish language has a word “GLAS” that covers almost all eventualities. So, whether the sea is blue, grey or green I can say, “Glas ew an mor”.

Glas ew an mor hedhyw.
That means “Today the sea is blue”.
Not the bright acrylic blues
Some postcard-buyers and painters choose,
But inky blue, Quinky blue.
Dip-your-pen-in writers’ blue.

Glas ew an mor hedhyw.
Again, “Today the sea is blue.”
Not aquamarine or turquoise blue,
Or David Hockney swimming pool blue,
But something more of a subtle hue.
Blue and grey and greeny, too.

Ma cabmdhavas reb an mor.
A shattered rainbow is on the shore.
The wind is whisking a mist of spray,
Catching the late sun’s slanting ray,
And the sea behind is dark as night,
Enhancing the spectrum of scattered light.

 Tho an mor glas de.
Yesterday the sea was grey.
Not wishy washy ashy grey,
But Little Grey Rabbit furry grey,
With a white under-belly hiding away
On the edge of the sand in Perran Bay.

Hedhyw o an mor brithys gen glas.
Today the sea was striped with greys.
Like a faded badger, not quite black and white,
With its head and tail hidden from sight,
Light by the sky and darker near me.
I was waiting for “brogh” to rise from the sea.

Na ellama gwelas an mor hedhyw.
I can’t see the sea, hidden from view,
By low clouds dropping a veil of hail,
Obscuring horizon and shore-line as well.
And the tide is in, so I cannot see
Where the edge of the sea should be.

Leun a liw o an mor hedhyw.
The rain had rinsed the sky right through
And all the colour had washed into the sea.
White above and black beneath
With streaks of purple and brown, to show
Where the sandbanks were down below.

Tho glas an vorr a moas dhe’n mor.
The road was wet from the night before
Reflecting blue sky in patches of rain.
I must go down to the sea again.
The sea was grey and the road was too,
But at least the road had patches of blue

En mettin ma me eth dhe’n treath.
I went to the beach, and caught my breath,
For the sea’d been rough at the last high tide
And the pools in the sand spread far and wide,
Reflecting the sky and clouds above –
Halcyon blue and grey of dove.

Melin ha glas ew an mor hedhyw.
Under the sea it’s no longer blue.
Under the sea it’s a different scene,
No longer blue, just yellowy-green.
Sand and alga and filtered out red,
It’s a world of green down by the sea bed.

Glas o an mor hedhyw.
I took my paints but couldn’t choose
The perfect shade from all my range.
Each time I looked there was a change.
Blue-grey-green, depends on whether
I’m out in dull or sunny weather.

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A Year of Late Cornish Day 241

Dew Cansves Dedh Dogans (Dew Ügens) hag Onan

De Yow, degves warn ügens mis Est.
Thursday, 30th August.

 Nag ew an powdir teller dison. Hedhyw me alja clowes kerry havyjy war an vorr(vor’) veur, an jynn mejy tiek en ogas, ha myjer glesin o gour. An son a jynnweythow. Adhves lowr dhe voas trehys ew an ys e'n prasow, keth ew behatna  an trevajow e’n vledhen-ma ha berr ew an cala. Nag ew an gwels et agan lowarth hir saw an whenn ew pur hir solabres. Ma pedry pronter, dans lew, pawbran ha “brath hok” (my translation).
The countryside is not a quiet place. Today I could hear cars of summer visitors on the highway, the harvester of a nearby farmer, and my husband’s lawn mower. The sound of machinery. The corn in the fields is mature enough to be cut, though the yields this year are smaller and the straw is short. The grass in our garden is not long but the weeds are already very tall. There is knapweed, dandelion, buttercup and hawkbit.  

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

A Year of Late Cornish Day 240

Dew Cansves Dedh ha Dew Ügens

De Merher, nawnjegves warn ügens mis Est.    
Wednesday, 29th August.

Ma whath lies havyas e’n morrebow a-hes oll adro dhe’n als a Gernow. Nag ew hav dewethys whath. Na wrüg scolyow dalleth aga tremmîs kidnyadh whath. Bettegens, ma nebes shoppas o parüjy dhe geas rag an gwav. Mowns o qwertha aga warow rag hanter pris dhe glerya aga stylednow. Nessa mis a vedh deffrans. Lies shoppa a vedh alwhedhys ha gwag.

There are still lots of summer visitors along the seafronts all around the coast of Cornwall. Summer is not finished yet. Schools have not begun their autumn term yet. However, some shops are preparing to close for the winter. They are selling their wares for half price to clear their shelves. Next month will be different. Many shops will be locked and empty.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

A Year of Late Cornish Day 233

Dew Cansves Dedh Terdhek warn Ügens

De Merher ew, an nessa dedh warn ügens a vis Est.        
It’s Wednesday, the 22nd day of August.
En Sowsnek, gelwys ew an mis-ma warlergh Augustus, emprowr a Rôm. Hedna nag ew an cas en Kernôwek, keth ero nei whath tochys gen an Romans. An ger Laten rag hav ew “aestas” ha’n ger Laten rag tòbmder ew “aestus”. Rag hedna, “mis Est” alja menya an mis a hav po an mis tòbm. Ma nebes bestas o còsca en hav dhe woheles tòbmder ûhel ha ayredh segh marow. Mowns “aestivate” en Sowsnek. Pecar ha gwavy ew, leb ew còsca dres an gwav dhe woheles an yender.
In English, this month is named after Augustus, a Roman emperor. That is not the case in Cornish, though we are still affected by the Romans. The Latin word for summer is “aestas” and the Latin word for heat is “aestus”. Therefore, “mis Est” could mean the month of summer or the hot month. Some animals sleep in summer to avoid high temperature and an arid climate. They “aestivate” in English. It’s like hibernating, which is sleeping through the winter to avoid the cold.

Friday, 17 August 2018

A Year of Late Cornish Day 228

Dew Cansves Dedh Eth warn Ügens

De Gwener, seythdegves mis Est.      
Friday, 17th August.

Ma disqwedhyans art en Ty war’n Heyl. Ma lies pyctur etto ha nebes cartednow. Me a welas bolla gwres a bredn ewedh. An auctor a’n levrow adro dhe Poldark a wrüg triga e’n treveglos. Eus ober Poldark? Ma’n bagas art o cawas esperans endella. Ma havalder da a Ross Poldark e’n disqwedhyans. A wra nebonan y berna?

There is an art exhibition in Perranporth. There are many pictures in it and several cards. I saw a bowl made of wood as well. The author of the books about Poldark lived in the village. Is there a Poldark effect? The art group hopes so. There is a good portrait of Ross Poldark in the exhibition. Will someone buy it?

Thursday, 16 August 2018

A Year of Late Cornish Day 227

Dew Cansves Dedh Seyth warn Ügens

De Yow, whetegves mis Est.       
Thursday, 16th August.

Pandr’ew an frooth ma? Me a’s cuntellas dhort gwedhen en ke reb o lowarth. Nag eus spernen veth war an wedhen, etho nag ew an wedhen spernen dhû. Ploumbren ew. Saw re vian ew an frutys dhe voas ploumys wheg ha re vroas ens dhe voas eyrin. Thew an frooth moy trenk vel ploumys. bes le wherow vel eyrin. Bettegens, pur dha ens gen avalow ha mor dû en keffeth. (Me a wrüg trehy mes an prevas en kensa!)

What is this fruit? I picked them from a tree in a hedge by my garden. There is not a single thorn on the tree, so the tree is not a blackthorn. It’s a plum tree. But the fruits are too small to be sweet plums and too big to be sloes. The fruit is more sour than plums but less bitter than sloes. Nevertheless, they are very good with apples and blackberries in jam. (I did cut out the little worms first.)

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

A Year of Late Cornish Day 226

This is practice reading for Cornish learners. Try to understand it before you lookat the translation. 

I haven't missed a day so far, since January 2nd but my daily blog seems difficult to find, so I am repeating it on this blog. For previous days click this link:

Dew Cansves Dedh Whegh warn Ügens

De Merher, pemdhegves mis Est.
Wednesday, 15th August.
Pandra dhe dhebry? Hedna ew an qwestyon. Na vadna vy debry kig na moy. Nag eus whans dhebm a gawas tra veth dhort bestas – na kig, na pesk, na cregyn, na keus, na leth, na oyow naneyl. Eus nekevys genam neb tra? Manen! Na wra vy debry manen war o bara scrawys na fella. Rag haunsel me a dhabras is gen “leth” amenut. Rag kidnyow me a gawas ejan fav gen lies losowen. Ha pandra warbydn coon? Me a drias füg-hos. (En Alys en Pow an Anethow ma Füg-Grobman.) Lebmyn ma bèrlosken dhebm. Na wrama tria hedna arta.

What to eat? That is the question. I will not eat meat any more. I don’t want to have anything from animals – neither meat, nor fish, nor shellfish, nor cheese, nor milk, nor eggs. Have I forgotten anything? I am no longer going to eat butter on my toast. For breakfast I ate cereal with almond “milk”. For lunch I had a bean burger with lots of vegetables. And what for supper? I tried mock duck. (In Alice in Wonderland there is a Mock Turtle.) Now I have indigestion. I won’t try that again.