“Cymru am byth!” A Blessed St. David’s Day to You!

Wales

Today is St. David’s Day.

So who was St. David? He was a sixth century bishop who became the patron saint of Wales.

My surname, Floyd, is Welsh. My dad always told me his people way back came from Wales.

Along the way I discovered that Floyd is the same name as Lloyd, which is a variation of the Welsh word llwyd or clwyd, which means “grey.”

The double-L represents, and I quote: “the voiceless alveolar lateral fricative of Welsh,” and was sometimes also represented as fl, yielding the name Floyd. It is not a sound you can make in English. It sounds something like a soft cough or gently clearing your throat.

When we first lived in the UK we saw many signs on offices for people named Cloyd, which was yet another attempt to capture the strange Welsh sound of the name.

So I am related in some way to all you Lloyds and Cloyds and Floyds.

I wish all of you in the tribe (and everybody else) a very blessed St. David’s Day. And I share with you one of St. David’s graceful admonitions:

“Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about. I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us.”

In 1989 we visited the charming cathedral named for him in St. David’s, Pembrokeshire, UK.

Typically cathedrals were built on a hill so that their architectural  glory could shine upon the surrounding countryside.

Not so for St. David’s Cathedral. Rather, it was built in a hollow near the sea so the Vikings couldn’t see its spire from their ships.

It is worth a trip.

 

A George Herbert Poem about PRAYER

The Welsh Metaphysical poet George Herbert (3 April 1593 –-1 March 1633) is one of my favorite poets who deals with religious themes, my other favorites being Isaac Watts, John Donne, and Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Herbert was a well-educated man who became an accomplished poet and noted orator. He served in parliament for two years, but in his late thirties gave up secular life to take holy orders in the Church of England. He spent the rest of his short life as the rector of a small parish, Fugglestone ST Peter with Bemerton St Andrew, in Wiltshire near Salisbury.

He was known as a faithful pastor to his flock, unfailing in his care of the sick, to whom he brought the sacrament, and to the poor, to whom he provided food and clothing. He himself was in poor health and died of tuberculosis just three years after his ordination. Here is one of his poems about prayer:

PRAYER the Churches banquet, Angels age,
Gods breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth;

Engine against th’ Almightie, sinner’s tower,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six daies world-transposing in an hour,
A kinde of tune, which all things heare and fear;

Softnesse, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,
Exalted Manna, gladnesse of the best,
Heaven in ordinarie, man well dress,
The milkie way, the bird of Paradise,
Church-bels beyond the stars heard, the souls blood,
The land of spices, something understood.

(Herbert, George. The Poetical Works of George Herbert. New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1857. 61-62.)