The author of the poem, Aneirin, was one of three survivors who returned to Din Eidyn, and in Radio 4's SUNDAY FEATURE – IN SEARCH OF THE GODODDIN, poet Gwyneth Lewis investigates his elegy for those who perished in the battle of Catraeth or Catterick. She also discusses with historians and archaeologists to what extent the poem can be taken as historical account or as propaganda.
Another much more recent poem, William Butler Yeats's popular Lake Isle of Innisfree, also features on the airwaves tomorrow in And go to innisfree. The poem's yearning for lake water lapping and bee-loud glades actually originated in London's Strand, where Yeats stood looking at a fountain in a shop window, thinking of the islands on Lough Gill, in Sligo, where he had spent many a childhood holiday. Kenneth Steven, whose poetry is also much concerned with themes of peace and sanctuary, follows Yeats's imagination from the metropolitan bustle to County Sligo and the eponymous island.
Meanwhile, as we reel into the new decade, vowing to eschew all self-indulgence forever and a day, Radio Scotland offers moral support and hard advice with a series of programmes under the heading A NEW YEAR – A NEW YOU. As the station's presenters get into the spirit – Gary Robertson plans to run a half-marathon in April, Vic Galloway vows to cut down on smoking and drinking, and such like, in Help Yourself, Julia Sutherland provides encouragement for listeners wanting to do just that, starting with helping a woman to lose weight before her son's wedding in the spring. They say shoveling snow helps.
Sunday Feature – In Search of the Gododdin
Tomorrow, Radio 3, 10pm
And Go To Innisfree
Tomorrow, Radio 4, 4:30pm
A New Year – A New You: Help Yourself
Friday, Radio Scotland, 11:30am
This article was first published in Scotsman on Sunday on 10 January, 2010.