Mothering Sunday is always a strange day, as those of you that have lost a parent will understand. Previously I have avoided Facebook, parks, and restaurants, anywhere in fact where I may bump into mothers celebrating with their children.

However this year I took a slightly different tact and decided to put time aside to read my mum’s poetry and prose. Though Mum was recognised as a passionate promoter of her father’s writing and for having worked tirelessly to ensure he had a lasting legacy – it is perhaps less well-known that she was also a very capable woman in her own right with many skills and talents.

For that reason, I am very keen to use my next two blogs to showcase some of Aeronwy Thomas’s writing – my Mother’s day gift to her as such. If you will indulge me I have chosen eight poems to display below. Next week I am going to include some of her prose with memories of her father, and the places so closely associated with him.

1. Dylan’s Daughter

I have chosen to include Dylan’s Daughter as a way to demonstrate that, at times, being the child of a famous poet could be frustrating ‘role’ and explains why I am trying, posthumously, to give Mum a place in the limelight.

They want me at the party

I don’t know them

they don’t know me


they want me

because I’m Dylan’s daughter.


Why can’t my husband go


they’re his friends

his party

but no

they want me there too.


Can’t you ring

I’m indisposed, awful cold

a bug

a severe allergy

to their kind invite.


No hope

no good prevaricating

got to bathe

prink and pother

choose an outfit

and worse

be ready in time.


“By six, did you say?”

“The earlier we get there

the earlier we can leave”

he lies

knowing the return trek

will be cold, late



While I’m celebrated with

Prosecco and delicious food

he’ll be singing his heart out

with his Welsh friends

last to go

befuddled and sung out

with me in tow.


Ah, well

better get ready


because I’m Dylan’s daughter.


2. Daughter

Mum wrote this poem for me. As a child, I struggled with co-ordination problems but as soon as I went into water these difficulties vanished.


Curled like a starfish

my daughter bites her own tail

brought in by breakers

she rests on a sandbank.

I watch her breath

awash in sleep.

The moon lights

her watery face.

Stranded in dreams

she smiles in sleep.

I paddle in the shallows

fall and swirl

in the eddies of her hair

moonlit and fantastic

gathering strength

for the turn of tide.


In the early morning

I’ll leave her

curled in froth.


3. My Son, My Sage

Mum wrote this poem for my brother. Huw was never forgiven for leaving a huge potty full of wee hidden under the TV which was only discovered while she was hosting a party for some influential friends!


He looks like a little sage on his pot

as if he’s thinking deep and wondrous thoughts.

Pensively, he looks my way, grave and quiet.

What is he going to say?

What pearls of wisdom will issue from his

little, sticky lips, moist, and pink as shells?

He looks away, his chubby legs like sturdy

stumps, bent, clamped either side of him.

He looks very solid, as if time alone will

take him away…His pot and he are one.

He looks around the room, from side to side.

I’m sure he’s looking for inspiration, some

word, some phrase, some precious piece of wisdom

that I wait for, as though his thought,

if it were expressed,

could turn the key to all of life’s enigmas.

One phrase and all would be clear, all explained.

Everything would be simple from then on.

His grave little face it turned towards me again,

his arms wave like willow stems against his

seated body, a rooted tree-trunk.

Maybe he’s accelerating the process of speech,

maybe it’s a sort of winding up process,

a preparation, a sort of flapping of wings

for mental take-off.


But no- Once more my illusions and daydreams

come to nothing as he childishly and naughtily

raises his bottom one inch, just high enough

to push the pot away from him, arms flaying,

and sits back on the floor with a plomp…

He smiles now – more a mischievous pixie

than a happy sage, I’d say – as he watches

with interest the pot spill over the carpet.


4. Teeth

Mum’s teeth were an on-going saga. In fact, when I phoned my uncle Colm to tell him that his sister was gravely ill, he replied, “But she’s only just had her teeth done!”


I wasn’t going to talk about teeth

but now you mention yours

I can tell you about mine.

It’s a sad tale.

Lily-livered and travel sick

I was dragged off

the bus at Carmarthen

and frogmarched

to the dentist.


Once, he administered gas

and I lurched into a shifting world

of crashing buses and miners’ drills

waking to my mother’s cries

“You’ve killed her.”


Then years of dentists –

Everywhere – Rome, Catania, Paris.

“You’ve some terrible work here,”

they chorused and yanked and

probed and invaded.

It’s a long tale so I’ll cut it short.

I lost them all.


Now, it’s a question of ethics

to implant or not

toothsome titanium

and spend the savings

all on myself

for a porcelain smile

and delicious, no more trial meals.


5. Midnight Garden

For some reason, unclear to us all, Mum enjoyed watching the children’s TV programme In the Night Garden when taking short breaks while writing her book, My Father’s Places.


The Harbouls, the Tomblitoos

Teeny Pontypines

play ball

Iggle Piggle greets Upsy Daisy

kisses her

Tuttivers sound their song.

Macca Pacca arrives

pulls cleaning trolley

cleans the ball

with soap and sponge.

“Macca Pacca” he says

to himself

lest he forget his name.

Iggle Piggle takes him home

“don’t forget your sponge,” he says.

“Macca Pacca,” says

Macca Pacca

polishes his stone pillow

throws his sponge away

kicks his comfort blanket aside.

Upsy Daisy settles to sleep

in a daisy patch.

Macca Pacca kisses

her awake.

Iggle Piggle socks him in the jaw.

“You’ll have to find

your own way home.”

Teeny Pontypines


the Ninky Ponk.


6. Richmond Park

Mum enjoyed nature and the two poems below Richmond Park and Peacocks were as a result of her observations during her regular walks.


Do not feed the deer

Do not gather the acorns

From the oak trees

Which feed

The wild life

Do not disturb

The slow cycle of nature.


7. Peacocks


A flowering of peacocks: blue

turquoise, electric, royal,

pale and dark, greeny blue.

Until I saw a peacock,

I thought blue was only

one colour.


8. Drum

We chose this poem to place on a memorial bookmark that was shared with the many people that attended Mum’s funeral.


I played the tin whistle for him

played the flute

played the violin

played the bassoon

the organ

the saxophone

the trumpet

and trombone.

He looked my way

and seeing me

looked away again.

He only answers to the drum… ter tum.



Hannah Ellis –  27th March 2017.

Hannah is a teacher, writer and consultant.  You can learn more about her by visiting the website –