Gerallt Lloyd Owen 1944–2014

Ddydd Mawrth 15 Gorffennaf eleni fe gollodd Cymru un o’i beirdd mwyaf unigryw a dylanwadol, Gerallt Lloyd Owen. Roedd Gerallt, fel y câi ei alw gan bawb, yn fardd diymhongar iawn, ond fe guddiai ei swildod cyhoeddus danbeidrwydd di-ymatal a losgai yn ei gerddi. Ysbrydolodd genedlaethau o feirdd a chynulleidfaoedd i ystyried o’r newydd eu perthynas â’r iaith Gymraeg ac â Chymru fel cenedl. Mewn cyfnod o ddirywiad yn hanes yr iaith ac o ganoli grym y tu allan i’r wlad, rhoddodd ei farddoniaeth lais i’r rheini a gredai bod gan Gymru o hyd le yn y byd.

Enillodd Gerallt Gadair Eisteddfod yr Urdd deirgwaith yn y chwedegau – yn fwyaf enwog yn 1969, pan ymosododd ar barodrwydd ei gyd-Gymry dof i ddathlu defod arwisgo’r Tywysog Charles yng Nghaernarfon – ac enillodd Gadair yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol yn 1975 ac 1982. Bu’n athro ac yn gyhoeddwr, a swynwyd y genedl gan ei lais dihafal fel y Meuryn ar Talwrn y Beirdd BBC Radio Cymru, rhaglen hynod boblogaidd a gyflwynodd am 32 o flynyddoedd.

Mae gan ei gerddi le yng nghalonnau pobl o bob oed – roedd Twitter yn orlawn o ddyfyniadau o’i waith yn ddiweddar – a bydd ei farddoniaeth yn parhau’n berthnasol fel modd i ysbrydoli’r genedl ar ei phrifiant.

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On Tuesday 15 July, Wales lost one of its most unique and influential poets, Gerallt Lloyd Owen. Gerallt, as everyone affectionately called him, was an unpretentious poet whose averseness to being in the public eye often seemed at odds with the uncompromising force of his poetry. He inspired generations of poets and audiences to re-evaluate their adherence to both the Welsh language and to Wales as a country. In an era of great language decline and very little devolution, his poetry became a standard-bearer for those who believed that Wales still had a place in the world.

Gerallt won the Chair of the Urdd Eisteddfod three times in the sixties – most notably in 1969, when he railed against the docile Welsh public’s jubilation at Prince Charles’s investiture in Caernarfon – and also won the Chair of the National Eisteddfod in 1975 and 1982. He worked as a teacher and as a publisher, and his inimitable voice became almost synonymous, after a period of 32 years as the Meuryn (adjudicator), with BBC Radio Cymru’s popular poetry programme, Talwrn y Beirdd.

His poems are treasured by people of all ages – Twitter has been awash with quotations recently – and continue to be inspirationally relevant in an ever-emerging Wales.

 

Eurig Salisbury

 

 

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