We are creating a new local poetry booklet for the Aber Valley, written by local people about their local area. Our aim is to inspire creativity amongst people in the valley and encourage those who write and those who would like to give it a go. The booklet will be published twice a year and distributed freely amongst residents of the valley. it will be called ‘Tatws Siôn Cent’ (Siôn Cent’s potatoes) after a 14th century poet who lived in Abertridwr and the legend where he managed to trick the devil into helping him harvest potatoes (see the full story at end of email).
If you have a connection to the Aber Valley., then we’d love to receive something from you! You don’t need to have any previous experience of writing poetry, and it can be in any style, any language and any length.
Each edition will have a theme, which is linked to a selected area in the Aber Valley. It will cover a part of the Ordnance Survey map of the valley with people then asked to write a poem based on that area. That could involve using a street name, a house, something from nature (river,tree,looking up at the sky), people who live there, local history etc to inspire a poem. The aim is to encourage people to engage with their local area, and that might involve visiting it for inspiration or simply looking at the map itself. Your link to the area in question can be as vague or abstract as you like, it is meant as a starting point for your imagination. Each future poetry booklet will then focus on a different part of the valley.
If you are interested please email email@example.com
The legend of Siôn Cent (as taken from Wales Tourist Information website)
Siôn Cent, one of Cymru’s greatest bards, drew his first breath in a humble cottage which stood on the very spot where the three waters meet in Abertridwr. His parents were as poor as church mice but happy enough because Siôn’s father believed that children were a poor man’s riches.
When Siôn was still a stripling, Fortune fleeced him of his parents. Orphaned and alone, Siôn sought work as a servant at Pontygwyndy Farm, Caerphilly.
One day Siôn was preparing to plough a field when, like a bolt from the blue, the Devil appeared. His Satanic Majesty offered to plough the paddock for the lad, requesting a share of the final crop. Siôn agreed, and give the devil his due, the field was most magnificently ploughed in a single night.
Siôn planted the field with potatoes and when the crop was ripe, offered Satan the part he most desired. “Naturally,” bellowed Satan, “I will claim that which grows out of the soil.”
In this way Satan got the stalks whilst Siôn pocketed the potatoes. Dancing mad because he’d been diddled, Satan insisted on a similar pact the following year. The Father of Lies ploughed the field but this time Siôn sowed wheat. When autumn stole away the summer, the field was ready to be scythed and Siôn again offered the Devil that part of the crop he most desired.
“Ha!” sniggered Satan. “Do you think that you can hoodwink me again? No! I claim that which grows in the soil.”
“Good choice, sirrah,” said Siôn, “that means you will take the roots whilst I have the wheat harvest. You seem to have come a cropper again!”