i know you wish you had my bod

My dearest Granddaughter.

Na, “Annwyl Wyres”. You’ve asked me to write what I remember for your school project,
So I suppose you’ll want me to do it in Welsh.

Cariad bach,
Sai'n gwybod beth i ‘weud wrthi ti.
Silence is a hard habit to break.

Right from day one, this wasn’t something we talked about.
It was a non-subject.
Mae'n rhyfedd pan ti'n meddwl am y peth;
While the whole world and his wife were talking about us,
With their editorials
And their news items and so on
A tra bod y beirdd yn sgwennu cerddi amdanyn ni  
A'r holl eiriau'n golchi droson ni

O'n ni'n dweud dim.

We said nothing.

So how much should you know?
It’s part of your history,
Our family’s history.
But I can’t share my guilt with you
For making the child I lost go to school that morning
(I wish I’d never shared that with your Bampy even)
And that I felt guilty for having
A child that lived.

But I wouldn’t have had you otherwise, would I?

None of this makes sense.

There are pictures that you ought to see from afterwards.
The photographer came over from America
And he was here for weeks after the disaster -
Rapoport his name was.
'Sgwyla di ar ei luniau fe.
He took one of the first baby born afterwards
The first wedding
The first smiles
And how many hundreds have there been since then, thank God?
Those pictures show us carrying on
Because we had to.

But there are things that those photos can’t show.

Like candles in pockets.
Your aunty was afraid of the dark.
I would light a candle for her in the cemetary -
Lots did.
It was like a second home to us for a long time afterwards.
I would take extra candles in my coat pocket
In case somebody else’s
Had burnt down to nothing.

These are things I will carry with me 'til I die.

But
Do you have a right to them?

Because it was so terrible,
Should you feel like so many before you
That it’s your duty
To comment
To sympathise
To identify?

Elli di ddim, cariad bach.

But I don’t want you to forget, either.

I can only give your aunty flowers
On be ranna i beth alla i 'da di. 

I’ll give you all the memories that I can.

- Llythyr Mam-gu, by the bard Ifor ap Glyn.

Written in memory of the Aberfan Disaster, 50 years ago.