I tuk my first steps in Ponty,
tiny DM’s clunkin’ an’ stompin,’
trippin’ over shoelaces
like my tongue had tripped over
the alphabet days before.
My first word was a Welsh one –
‘dwr,’ I bin told, an’ Mam always
says I ‘aven’ shurrup since.
She says, ‘you’ve got an MA,
why are you talking like that?’
So I scrunch my hands and pierce
my tongue, pink betrayer, muffling
my ‘byears’ and ‘bithers.’
She says irs not tidy to say ‘tidy,’
bur I carn stop pronouncing ‘ear,’
‘here,’ and ‘year,’ all the same,
even if it dun sound ‘posh.’
I’m in between, speaking a few
languages, feelin’ academia
on the tips of my fingers
while my accent sits like fur
on my teeth.
Bur the thing is, tha’ first word
led me to Aberystwyth,
to live by the Welsh sea, feeling
it’s comforting salt spray –
I must have always liked ‘dwr.’
An’ the thing is, people always
know where I’m from,
so I should know it too,
an’ I do. I’m from down South.
When I write, I do it right,
bur I speak how I want,
in my own mixture of iaithoedd.
Dwi’n siarad Cymraeg,
an’ I speak English,
an’ sometimes, I gerrem
all muddled up an’ say thins like
‘I’m proud o fle dwi’n dod.’