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Dyddiad: 27/08/11

Rhowch Glod I'r Ŵyl Hanfodol

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Mi addewais i erthygl arall ynglŷn 'r Eisteddfod, ynd?

Mae 'na ddwy agwedd ar y peth yr hoffwn i sn amdanynt, a bod yn onest; gellid eu rhannu i'r 'personol' a'r 'cyffredinol'.

Beth am y 'personol' i ddechrau? Wel, am un peth dwi'n edifarhau bellach na wnes i'r gorau o'r cyfle, gan nad ydyw'n debyg fydd y Brifwyl yn l yn y fro hon yn ystod fy einioes i. Dylswn i - a finnau'n sylweddoli hyn yn llawer rhy hwyr - wedi cymryd yr wythnos gyfan i ffwrdd o'r gwaith a mynd i'r ŵyl rhyw dair neu bedair gwaith yn hytrach nag am ddiwrnod a hanner yn unig. Mi oedd 'na bethau eraill yr hoffwn i fod wedi'u gweld neu'u clywed, ond mi oeddwn i'n rhy grintachllyd i ystyried prynu diwrnod arall.

Roedd 'na siomedigaethau eraill, wrth gwrs. Soniais i o'r blaen am yr arwyddo gwamal oedd yn gwneud cael hyd i bethau (y Maes, er enghraifft) yn anos nag y dylsai wedi bod. Ddarllenais i rywun yn awgrymu y dylsid wedi gosod hysbysfwrdd mawr y tu allan i bob un o'r prif bebyll a stondinau i ddangos beth yn union oedd i ddigwydd ynddynt y diwrnod hwnnw. Sylwch, Gyngor Yr Eisteddfod, a dysgu!

Peth arall oedd i mi fethu'n ln chwrdd neb y bm yn eu hadnabod o ddyddiau coleg. Mi oeddwn i'n teimlo a baswn i'n siwr o gyfarfod rhywun o'r hen ddyddiau, ond welais i'r un hen wyneb gyfarwydd yno. Dim un. Petaen nhw yno'r un adeg fi, welais i'r un ohonynt; neu doedden nhw ddim yn fy adnabod innau, na hyd yn oed fy nghofio. Ar wahn i Dylan Jones y BBC finnau'n rhannu cyfarchion cyflym (ac yntau'n gweithio, wrth gwrs), dim ond rhyw dri neu bedwar o'r gwaith welais i yno.

Hefyd, mi gollais i'r cyfle i siarad Gerallt Lloyd Owen i ddiolch iddo fo am Y Talwrn, ac mi fethais i'n ln gweld arddangosfa ffotograffau Geoff Charles, sy'n drueni mawr ac yntau'n hannu o'r un pentref fi. Mi anghofiais i'n llwyr amdani nes i Grahame Davies sn amdani wrth i ni fynd yn l i'r dref ar y bws brynhawn Dydd Iau.

O, a thra rydw i'n sn am Grahame, mi lwyddais i gael copi o'r casgliad yna o gerddi Bryan Martin Davies wedi'r cwbl. Mi brynais i gopi ail-law trwy Amazon rhai dyddiau wedyn, gan lyfrwerthwr o'r Alban - am geiniog (a 2.40 am gludiant)! Pan gyrhaeddodd y gyfrol, mi welais mai o hen stoc gwasanaeth llyfrgelloedd Dinas Abertawe ddaeth hi. Gobeithio bod yr hen Liblabs anniwylledig lawr fan 'cw wedi cadw ambell i gopi yn l er mwyn addysgu pobl Treforus a'r Dyfnant.

Ag eithrio hyn i gyd, sut brofiad oedd hi i mi? Wel, faswn i ddim wedi'i ei cholli am y byd. Er y cyfleoedd coll, er y problemau soniais amdanyn nhw parthed arwyddion, roedd bod yno yn deimlad mor gyfforddus, mor iawn, fel bod y darnau wedi disgyn i'w lle rhywsut.

Am un peth, doeddwn i ddim yn teimlo am yr un eiliad yr anesmwythyd hynny sy'n dod drostof i ym mhob man arall sydd yn achosi i mi fod yn amharod i edrych i wyneb rhywun arall. Ymhob man arall, gwelir y math uniongyrchedd fel rhyw fath o her neu fygythiad, sy'n galw am yr ymateb "Wot ddy ffyc r iw lwcin a'?". Roedd pawb, neu felly yr ymddangosodd i mi, yn agored i bawb arall. Efallai mai rhywbeth i'w ddisgwyl ydy hynny, a phawb yno i gael hwyl - llawer ohonyn nhw ar eu gwyliau yno i bob pwrpas.

(Rwy'n cyfaddef mai delfrydu ydw i wrth ddweud pethau felly: fod y Cymry Cymraeg yn bobl sy'n gynhenid o neis. Gallai unrhywun sydd wedi gweld Maes Caernarfon ar nos Wener dystio nad ydyw'r darlun hwnnw'n dal ymhob achos. Ond fel egwyddor mae'n addas ar y cyfan).

Mae'n rhaid cyfaddef, wrth gwrs, mai torf o bobl ddiwylliedig oedd y rhain gan fwyaf, a'r dorf honno'n hunan-ddetholedig o ddosbarth canol i raddau helaeth; pobl oedd wedi dod i ymsuddo nid yn unig i ddiwylliant ac awyrgylch yr Eisteddfod, ond i gymdeithas oedd yn naturiol Gymraeg.

A dyna'r ail deimlad gefais i; mor naturiol o Gymraeg oedd hi. Rŵan, i lawer fydd y sylw hwnnw'n ymddangos yn wallgof; naturiol o Gymraeg y mae'r Brifwyl i fod, ynt? Ond i'r mwyafrif llethol ohonom ni a aeth yno, nid peth arferol yw hi i fod yn y math awyrgylch. I lawer o Gymry Cymraeg - y mwyafrif, bellach, o bosibl - y mae pob dydd o'n bywyd arferol yn dod 'r angen i gyfaddawdu, i orfod ildio i realiti'r gymdeithas 'ddwyieithog' honedig sydd ohoni trwy Gymru benbaladr bellach.

Ond yna, ar y Maes, doedd dim rhaid iddyn nhw - doedd dim rhaid i mi - fod dim byd arall ond yr hyn yr ydym ni - Cymry Cymraeg - ac ymlacio. Iawn, mi oedd 'na ddigon o bobl ddi-Gymraeg yno - yn enwedig ymhlith y sawl oedd yn gofalu am rai o'r stondinau, neu'r sawl fu yno i gystadlu mewn meysydd lle nad oedd y Gymraeg yn hanfodol - ac mae'n rhaid cofio nad oedd y ffin Lloegr fawr mwy na thafliad carreg i ffwrdd a bod y fro hon wedi'i llwyr Seisnigo bellach; ond eto, y rhai di-Gymraeg oedd yr eithriadau y tro hwn, a nhw fu'n gorfod ffitio i mewn i'n disgwyliadau ni i raddau helaethach nag yn y byd mawr y tu hwnt i'r maes pebyll a'r caranfanau. A siaredais i fwy o Gymraeg mewn diwrnod a hanner nag mewn blwyddyn gron cyn hynny.

Cymdeithas ydy'r gair dwi'n chwilio amdano, mae'n debyg. Mi oedd 'na deimlad o berthyn yn cyd-weu trwy'r awyrgylch yno. Cefais fy hun yn pendroni - a dwi wedi bod yn myfyrio uwchben hyn byth wedyn a bod yn onest - ai dyma sut fasa hi i fyw mewn cymdeithas wir ddiwylliedig, yn hytrach na'r jyngl uffernol o sothach, dicter gwneud a hunan-gyfiawnhu cysetlyd sy'n rhannau annatod o'r 'diwylliant' Eingl-Americanaidd bellach?

Wrth gwrs, gallai'r math gymdeithas fod yn bell iawn o'r cyflwr delfrydol i lawer; gallai fod yn gul, yn gyfyngedig a'r un mor gysetlyd yn ei ffordd fach ei hun. Ond mi gefais i'r teimlad mai nam ar yr ochr orau fasa hynny ar y cyfan. Fasa'r teimlad o berthyn i gymdeithas gls yn wrthwenwyn i ran fwyaf yr anfanteision hynny, ac yn sicr yn creu mwy o fodlonrwydd a chysur na'r gymdeithas 'allan fan 'cw', lle nad oes neb yn poeni am fawr ddim mwy na nhw eu hunain, lle mae'r syniad o 'gymdogaeth' wedi diflannu i bob pwrpas, a lle nad oes 'na'r math beth 'chymdeithas' oni bai fod modd i sgriwio arian allan ohoni trwy actio'n gyfaill ffug i'r holl syniad.

A allasai Cymru annibynnol fod yn gymdeithas felly? A ydi'r Eisteddfod yn feicrocosm o'r hyn y basa rhywun synhwyrol yn dymuno'i weld? Wel, fasa hynny'n dibynnu ar ewyllys y bobl, ac wrth gwrs ewyllys y sawl fasa'n ei rheoli. Ond gallaf ond meddwl nad peth drwg fasa hi o leiaf i anelu am rywbeth felly; i gymdeithas lle mae pawb yn cyfri', i gymdeithas lle mae 'na le teilwng i bob un, i gymdeithas sy'n rhoi lles pobl yn llawer uwch nac elw na mantais fasnachol; i gymdeithas, yn hytrach nag i gasgliad llac o fuddianau yn cystadlu'n ddall a byddar yn erbyn eu gilydd.

Breuddwyd gwrach, efallai, ond mae 'na ddirfawr angen delfrydiaeth yn yr oes ddi-feddwl, wrth-feddwl hon.

A dyna pam fod yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol yn bwysig; yn bwysig y tu hwnt i faterion o ln, cerddoriaeth a chelf yn unig; yn batrwm efallai o'r hyn y gallem ni fod, o'r hyn y gallai ein byd ni fod petaem ni'n mynnu hynny.

A dyna pam ei bod hi'n bwysig fod y Brifwyl yn parhau, ac yn parhau i deithio o flwyddyn i flwyddyn, ac yn parhau i barcio'i phafiliwn pinc ar feysydd allai ymddangos yn weddol ddiffrwyth ar dir ymylol megis Wrecsam, Glyn Ebwy a Sir Y Fflint. Fel y gall y sawl sydd heb y profiad o'r hyn y gall y diwylliant Cymraeg ei gynnig iddyn nhw flasu tipyn ar yr hen gawl, ac i'w hysbrydoli efallai i fynd ati i'w berwi o'r newydd yn eu ffordd nhw eu hunain.

Ac i fynd yn l ataf i fy hunan i gloi: llyfrau Cymraeg fu ar y bwrdd wrth erchwyn fy ngwely byth ers y Brifwyl; bm yn gwrando'n aml ar nifer o'r caneuon ar y CD Degawdau Roc - Maes B Y Blew a Nansi Omega yn arbennig; dyma'r drydedd erthygl yn y Gymraeg i mi roi ar y gwefan hwn o fewn mis, lle bu'r Gymraeg yn ymwelydd prin 'i dudalennau dros y blynyddoedd ers i mi gau fy ngwefan Cymraeg ym 2009 - yn wir, dwi wedi bod yn meddwl am a posibiliad o agor adran Gymraeg ar y gwefan hwn rhywbryd; dwi wedi bod yn meddwl hefyd am y posibiliad o ddechrau barddoni eto am y tro cyntaf ers achau. Dwi'n gallu teipio ychydig yn well yn Gymraeg rŵan hefyd.

Do, mi gafodd Eisteddfod Wrecsam gryn effaith arnaf. Brysiwch 'n l, Brifwyl!

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Praise The Essential Festival

I promised another piece about the Eisteddfod, didn't I?

There are two aspects of it I'd like to talk about here, to be honest; one could divide them into the 'personal' and the 'general'.

So what of the 'personal' to begin with? Well, for one thing I regret now that I didn't make the most of the opportunity, as it's not likely that the festival will be back in the area again during my lifetime. I should - and I realised this far too late - have taken the whole week off work and gone three or four times rather than just for a day and a half. There were other things I would have liked to have seen or heard, but I was too tight with myself to consider paying for another day.

There were other disappointments, of course. I've already mentioned the lousy signage which made finding things (such as the Maes, for example) more difficult than it should have been. I read someone suggesting that they should have put large noticeboards outside each of the main tents and stalls to announce exactly what was going to be going on in them that day. Take note, Eisteddfod Council, and learn!

Another thing was that I completely failed to meet anyone I knew from college days. I had felt certain that I would meet someone from the old days, but I didn't see a single familiar face there. Not a one. If they were there at the same time as me, I didn't spot them; or they didn't recognise me, or even remember me. Apart from sharing brief greetings with Dylan Jones from the BBC (he was busy working, of course), I only came across some three or four people from work.

I also missed the opportunity to talk to Gerallt Lloyd Owen to thank him for Y Talwrn, and I failed completely to see the exhibition of photographs by Geoff Charles, a great pity seeing as he came from the same village. I'd forgotten completely about it until Grahame Davies mentioned it to me as we went back into town on the bus on Thursday afternoon.

Oh, and while I'm talking about Grahame, I did manage to get hold of a copy of that anthology of poems by Bryan Martin Davies after all. I bought a second-hand copy via Amazon some days later, courtesy of a bookseller in Scotland - for a penny (plus 2.40 postage and packing)!. When the volume in question arrived, I saw that it had come from the old stock of the Swansea City Council library service. I hope the old uncultured Liblabs down there have kept a few copies for the edification of the people of Morriston and Dunvant.

Apart from all this, what sort of experience did I have? Well, I wouldn't have missed it for the world. For all the missed chances, for all the problems I've mentioned vis--vis signage, being there was such a comfortable, such a right feeling, as if all the pieces had somehow fallen into their alloted places.

For one thing, I never felt for a single moment that uneasiness which comes over me everywhere else which causes me to be reluctant to look anyone in the face. Everywhere else, such directness is viewed as a challenge or threat, to be met by the response "What the fuck are you lookin' at?". Everyone, or so it appeared to me, was open to everyone else. Perhaps this was only to be expected, as everyone was there to enjoy themselves - many of them on their holidays to all intents and purposes.

(I confess that I'm idealising things a bit in saying such things; that Welsh-speakers are people who are intrinsically nice. Anyone who has seen the main square in Caernarfon on a Friday night could testify that that image doesn't always hold. But as a principle it is on the whole appropriate).

It must be admitted, of course, that this was in the main a crowd of cultured people, and that that crowd was self-selectingly middle-class to a large degree; people who had immersed themselves not only in the Eisteddfod's culture and ambience, but into a society which was naturally Welsh-speaking.

And that was the second feeling I had; how naturally Welsh-speaking it was. Now, to many that observation might seem bonkers; the festival is supposed to be naturally Welsh-speaking, isn't it? But to the vast majority of those of us who went there, such an atmosphere is not a usual place to be. To many Welsh-speakers - possibly to the majority of us - the everyday experience of our lives brings the need to compromise, to have to yield to the reality of the allegedly 'bilingual' society which exists throughout Wales nowadays.

But there, on the Maes, they didn't - I didn't - have to be anything other than what we were - Welsh-speaking Welsh - and could relax into it. Yes, there were enough non-Welsh-speakers there - especially amongst those who were manning some of the stalls, or those who were there to compete in fields where the language was not essential - and it has to be borne in mind that the border with Greater England was scarcely much more than a stone's throw away and that this area has been completely Anglicised by now; but all the same, the non-Welsh-speakers were the exceptions on this occasion, and they had to adapt to our expectations to a greater degree than out in the big world beyond the fields of tents and caravans. And I spoke more Welsh in a day and a half than I had in the previous year altogether.

Society is the word I'm looking for, I suppose. A feeling of belonging was woven through the atmosphere there. I found myself wondering - and I've been musing on this point ever since to be honest - if this is what it would be like to live in a truly cultured society, rather than the hellish jungle of trivia, fake outrage and conceited self-justification which are inseparable parts of the Anglo-American 'culture' nowadays?

Of course, such a society could be far from the ideal condition for many; it could be narrow-minded, limiting and just as conceited in its own small way. But I got the feeling that, on the whole, it would be a fault on the right side. The feeling of belonging to a close-knit society would be an antidote to most of such disadvantages, and would certainly create greater feelings of satisfaction and comfort than the society 'out there', where no-one cares for much more than themselves, where the idea of 'neighbourliness' has to all intents and purposes disappeared, and where there is no such thing as 'society' unless there is a way of screwing money out of it by acting as a false friend to the whole concept.

Could an independent Wales be such a society? Is the Eisteddfod a microcosm of what anyone sensible would wish to see? Well, that would depend on the will of the people, and of course on the will of those who would rule them. But I can't help but think that it wouldn't be a bad thing to at least aim for such a thing; for a society where everyone counted; a society where there was a place for everybody; to a society which put the well-being of people far above profit or commercial advantage; to a society, rather than a loose collection of interests competing blindly and unhearingly against each other.

A pipe dream, perhaps, but there is an urgent need for idealism in this unthinking, anti-thinking age.

And that is why the National Eisteddfod is important; important beyond matters of literature, music and the arts alone; a pattern, perhaps, of what we could be, of what our world could be were we to wish it so.

And that is why it is important that the festival continues, and continues to move from year to year, and continues to park its pink pavilion on fields which appear to be comparatively barren, on such marginal lands as Wrexham, Ebbw Vale and Flintshire. So that those who have not experienced what Welsh-language culture has to offer them can taste a little of the old broth, and perhaps to inspire them to go to it to make their own fresh brew of it in their own way.

And to go back to myself to finish: Welsh books have been on my bedside table ever since the Eisteddfod; I have listened often to a number of the songs on the Degawdau Roc CD - Maes B by Y Blew and Nansi by Omega especially; this is the third piece in Welsh in a month that I've put on this site, where Welsh has been an infrequent visitor since I closed my Welsh wesbite in 2009 - indeed, I've been considering the possibility of opening a Welsh section on this site sometime; I've also been thinking about the possibility of starting to write verse again for the first time in yonks. I can type in Welsh better now as well.

Yes, the Wrexham Eisteddfod had quite an impact on me. Come back soon!