Speaking about Jesus Christ

Past events

25 January
Celebrating St Dwynwen


Life was not easy for St Dwynwen, Wales’ answer to St Valentine. Forbidden to marry the man she loved, then raped by him, she dedicated herself to a life of contemplation. Celebrating her day at St Benet’s on January 25, some sixteen centuries later, was rather more fun.

When she withdrew from the world, Dwynwen asked God to grant the wishes of all future lovers and, naturally, love was the theme of the event in her honour. Foremost Welsh poet Dannie Abse, a spry octogenarian, read from his own work, including poems from his new collection, Two for Joy: scenes from married life, due to be published this Spring. He varied the mood from romantic (in poems such as “Epithalamion” beginning “Singing, today I married my white girl/beautiful in a barley field.”) to the comic “Domestic, 3 a.m” (about a husband suspected of wandering) and counterpointed these with a masterly performance of the narrative poem, “Events Leading to the Conception of Solomon, the Wise Child”.


Actress Eirlys Bellin presented, with charm and just enough explanation for non-Welsh speakers, several love poems in Welsh, including “Fel Jack Nicholson” by Iwan Llwyd and a section from “Y Serch Lledrad” by the Fourteenth Century poet Dafydd ap Gwilym. Between readings the Harrow Ladies’ Group, led by talented soloist Glenys Roberts,contributed sweet versions of favourite folk songs, including Ar Lan Y Mor and A’r Hyd Y Nos.

Representatives of the Poetry Society, who had helped to organise the evening, joined other members of the audience afterwards for a glass of wine or beer, the latter generously provided by Brains the brewers. And at 10.15 pm, the remaining dozen or so people chatting in church launched into an impromptu rendition of Calon Lan, in harmony of course. Dwynwen would have been delighted.


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