Gwerful Mechain’s Ink Stained Hands, Part 1


TRANSCRIPT: Welcome to Her Ink Stained Hands. I know you’ve all been waiting patiently and I promise, this will be just as good as you thought it would be. You’re listening to Episode One: My Favourite Word is Quim. This episode, we’ll be reading Cywwyd e Cedor, or Cywydd e Gant, translated in English, Ode to the Cunt by Gwerful Mechain. This translation is by Daffyd Johnston, with slight variations.

Every foolish drunken poet,
boorish vanity without ceasing,
(never may I warrant it,
I of great noble stock,)
has always declaimed fruitless praise
in song of the girls of the lands
all day long, certain gift,
most incompletely, by God the Father:
praising the hair, gown of fine love,
and every such living girl,
and lower down praising merrily
the brows above the eyes;
praising also, lovely shape,
the smoothness of the soft breasts,
and the beauty’s arms, bright drape,
she deserved honour, and the girl’s hands.
Then with his finest wizardry
before night he did sing,
he pays homage to God’s greatness,
fruitless eulogy with his tongue:
leaving the middle without praise
and the place where children are conceived,
and the warm cunt, clear excellence,
tender and fat, bright fervent broken circle,
where I loved, in perfect health,
the cunt below the smock.

You are a body of boundless strength,
a faultless court of fat’s plumage.
I declare, the cunt is fair,
circle of broad-edged lips,
it is a valley longer than a spoon or a hand,
a ditch to hold a penis two hands long;
cunt there by the swelling arse,
song’s table with its double in red.
And the bright saints, men of the church,
when they get the chance, perfect gift,
don’t fail, highest blessing,
by Beuno, to give it a good feel.
For this reason, thorough rebuke,
all you proud poets,
let songs to the cunt circulate
without fail to gain reward.
Sultan of an ode, it is silk,
little seam, curtain on a fine bright cunt,
flaps in a place of greeting,
the sour grove, it is full of love,
very proud forest, faultless gift,
tender frieze, fur of a fine pair of testicles,
a girl’s thick grove, circle of precious greeting,
lovely bush, God save it.

Join us for part 2 of this episode to listen to an analysis of this poem.

CREDITS: All our artists and guests are carefully selected with the aim to celebrate the feminine. Thank you to Nguyen Tran of Brass Ringo Photography, photographer Daphne Mir, and model Kaitlin Cornelle for granting us permission to use their gorgeous portraits of ink stained hand in our cover art. Thank you to sound designer Liz Duck-Chong for the use of her recording equipment and her skilled editing. We’ve not yet found suitable music by a female instrumentalist or sound artist, so if there is anyone you would recommend, send us an email or at us on Twitter!

Source: Outsider poems, a mini-anthology in progress (44): Gwerful Mechain’s ‘Ode to the Pubic Hair’ by JEROME ROTHENBERG


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