Awen and Awenydd in Angar Kyfundawt

Here’s an excerpt from the discussion we had last week on the role of the awenydd and awen, at this point in the conversation from the perspective of The Book of Taliesin poem ‘Angar Kyfundawt’.

My translation of the beginning of the poem is below. As I explained in this series of blog posts a few years back, it’s a bit different to Marged Haycock’s translation in Legendary Poems from The Book of Taliesin. 

Angar Kyfundawt, lines 1 – 39:

The poet — here he is!

I’ve [already] sung what he may sing.

Let him sing [only] when

the sage has drawn to a close wherever he may be.

A generous one who refuses me

will never get anything to give.

Through the language of Taliesin

[will come] the profit of manna.

When Cian died

his retinue was numerous.

Until death it shall be obscure

Afagddu’s declamation:

skilfully he brought forth

speech in metre.

Gwion utters

[and a] deep one will come;

he [Gwion] would bring the dead to life,

and [yet] he is poor.

They [Afagddu and Gwion] would make their cauldrons

that were boiling without fire;

they would work their materials

for ever and ever.

Passionately will song be brought fourth

by the deep, profound speaker.

Hostile is the confederacy [of opposing bards];

what is its custom?

[Since] such a great amount of the nation’s poetry

was on your tongues

why don’t you declaim a declamation,

a flow above the shining drink?

When everyone’s separated out

I’ll come with a song,

[I’m] a deep one who became flesh:

there has come a conqueror,

one of the three judges in readiness.

For sixty years

I endured solitude

in the water gathered in a band [around the earth],

[and] in the lands of the world.

6 thoughts on “Awen and Awenydd in Angar Kyfundawt

  1. Very interesting, getting a better understanding of Taliesin now, and how to interpret the legend/ his works.
    diolch Yn fawr.

  2. Diolch.
    This is very interesting. I was really just curious and didn’t expect to be so enthralled.

  3. This is fascinating. This reminds me of other traditions, where you read on the surface and cannot discern the meaning. The meaning needs to picked apart out of each line to get the absolute greatest meaning. And for that you need the help of the sage. This will help me with my Druidic studies certainly.

  4. Wonderful! It seems to me that both Affagddu and Gwion are “bringing forth” something. Affagddu brings forth metred speech…technical poetry. Nice, but it is Gwion who brings forth the ancestral voice from the deep…Awen. Of course he eventually becomes Taliesin. So it is as though Taliesin IS Awen. “A deep one who became flesh” (“The Awen I sing, from the deep I bring it”) I wonder who actually came first? Does Gwion become Taliesin (as in the story) or is Taliesin actually Gwions Ancestral awen brought forth from the deep?

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