Hedd Wyn

Wyn, Hedd

A century ago, a young man was killed in one of the massive battles of the Great War, far from the song of the river in his home valley. Thousands of similar lives were wasted on the same day and families were united on both sides of the fight in their losses and grief.

Hedd Wyn's name remains in the memory of his nation. The Ysgwrn, the shepherd's home, became a household that must be pilgrimage there often. His story continues to saddens, angers and inspire us.

Hedd Wyn was a shepherd, not a soldier. He was also a poet and was learning the old skill of crafting words. He won the Chair at the National Eisteddfod in 1917, but a bitter blow in the history was that he died before being chaired. A promising young man was killed, and because of that his story came to represent so much of the other young talents that were thrown into the ditches.

Although he was so young, his poems show that his contribution to 20th century Welsh poetry would have been notable if he had lived. Despite this loss, there is a warm theme in his work - love for country, people, friendship and peace. These are the values we are looking for when trying to come to terms with what happened a century ago.