I was baptised
T. Graham Williams, but in Welsh eisteddfodau I am known by my bardic
(pen) name, ‘Cefnfab’ which, incidentally, is also my Equity name. ‘Cefn’ derives from the word ‘Cefn Bryn Brain’ the village
where I was born in 1936, ‘Fab’
is the mutated form of ‘mab’ (the son of).
How often has
it been said that despite severe hardships people have striven to unburden
themselves of the yolk of deprivation through afterwards succeeding in
life? Thus one could
then ask the question does denial eventually prove to be a form of
comparisons can be made to the manner I struggled
to gain education. To be allowed to learn was always other people’s
privilege. Life’s various
quirks seemed to deny me that opportunity. When ‘wise’ adults decided that I should become a miner, my whole soul cried out in
despair. I shall always
express my gratitude to the local eisteddfodau, it was their flame that
lit the enveloped darkness of the coal mine.
Attending, participating and listening to various adjudications
gave me a new lease of life. Then an unplanned tragedy occurred – I got married …
Why did I make such an insane decision, for during the following
fourteen years of domestic upheaval my creative enthusiasm gradually
decayed. It was also during this time that I was made redundant
through the closure of the colliery – which completed my turmoil.
Ironically, this proved to be an influential force upon my work and eventually
I won an eisteddfod crown by relating these experiences.
After one year
a life-giving droplet fell on my parched land, whilst a new dawn of hope
radiated light in the darkness. Meeting my second wife soon proved to be of immense influence.
devotion and support soon gave me a new heart and a reason for living. She encouraged my earlier desire to seek and gain more education.
You can see a video of our story in the
Within a few years of being together I had taken
‘O’ and ‘A’ levels. After
successfully obtaining these I entered Trinity College, Carmarthen, before
eventually gaining a B.A. degree with the Open University.
Even these achievements never gave me true satisfaction,
for there was a burning desire within me to succeed in other fields of work.
Cefnfab - "a natural entertainer" with the students of
Trinity College, Carmarthen at Melin Trefin, Pembrokshire
Here is yet another stone association with Cefnfab,
which includes his poem immortalising a miner. This is
one of four stones placed in Rhiwfawr's nature park. They represent
a druidic theme based on images representing the Welsh Gorsedd of
The poem has been written in the Swansea Valley
dialect. Included here also is an English translation:
(Yn nhafodiaith Cwm Tawe)
Gad i fi dy gl’wed di eto’n wilia
yn nhafotieth bert y cwm, wrth i sŵn awel
y Mynydd Du
chwythu yn nhwll clo ‘y nghof.
O, o’s ma’ ‘na atgofion di-ri am y dyddie
pryd wmladdes dros hawlie’r colier -
pan o’dd ‘i arian
a’i ana’l yn brin.
Canmolwyd di ’n gyson
ym mro’r t’wyllwch, lle ‘ro’dd glowyr
wastod am naddu d’ enw ar byst y ffas.
Taeres bryd hynny ‘mod i’n cl’wed
yn canu dy glod yn y gwyll . . .
Let me hear your chat again
in the pretty valley’s dialect, when the sound
of Black Mountain’s breeze
blew through memory’s
Oh, yes, there are numerous recollections of days
when you fought over a miner’s rights –
when his money
and breath was short.
You were constantly admired
in the vale of gloom, where miners
always carved your name on coal face’s posts.
I swore I could then
hear a mandrel’s tune
ringing your praise in the darkness
My aim in gaining such achievements is for others to benefit
from my experiences without having to struggle to be successful.
Today I teach
creative writing and Welsh to adults as well as presenting bilingual
lectures on the ‘undiscovered world of Dylan Thomas’. I write scripts
and narrate for a video company, whilst I also participate regularly in