For my shame
I boiled the smalls
and put them neat and clean on the thin line
to dance gently
to the accompaniment of the day.
In the squeak of the winch
if I heard a sigh,
I did not pause,
unfurling my flag of proud dignity,
I raised every under-garment up high,
And from the East there came nothing
except the rays of the sun to finger them,
before the morning's dry kiss baked them crisp.
I did not see the imploring of the distant hands
that had stitched them together,
nor see the thread come undone
before disappearing under rubble dust.
I saw only white and proper bargains
for my shame.
In response to RS Thomas 'Two Shirts on a Line' for the Hay Festival, reflecting on Dhaka, spring 2013
Trans: Tim ap Hywel