Peerless Jim Driscoll; Gwyddel Digymar Cymru; The Peerless Irishman of Wales
Gwyddel digymar Cymru
Gwyddel digymar Cymru,
dychryn byd dy ddyrnau di;
dy dde sydyn yn ffrwydro
ar ên yn drwm fel dram glo,
dy chwith yn dod o rywle
fel cadwyn craen Tiger Bay.
Y champ, arswyd pencampwyr,
â’r llaw ddur i lorio gwwr;
y pro perycla’ erioed,
a dewrion byd wrth dy droed.
Cofnodwn yma mewn efydd
ddyrnau caleta’ eu dydd;
ond mwy nag unrhyw ornest,
mawr wyt am yr hyn na wnest:
y tro pryd y’th ddyfarnwyd
yn gydradd am deitl byd,
America’n mynd o’i cho’
am ail ornest i’w setlo
a byd yn mynnu iti
ei chymryd, a’i hennill hi.
Ond naddo, daethost sha thref
i gadw gair â chartref
I blant amddifad Caerdydd
lle y’th fagwyd. Cedwaist y ffydd.
Cadw addewid oedd raid,
colli gwobr, cadw enaid.
Wyddel y dwylo difaol,
dy fenter oedd troi yn ôl;
ymatal oedd d’arwriaeth,
dy ryddid, aros yn gaeth,
a llawryf mwy na llwyddiant
oedd methu ‒ er mwyn y plant.
The peerless Irishman of Wales,
your fists were the terror of the world;
your sudden right crashing
on the jaw, heavy as a coal tram;
your left coming from nowhere
like the chain of a Tiger Bay dock crane.
The champ feared by the champions,
with the steel hand to lay men low;
the most dangerous pro of them all,
with the heroes of the world at your feet.
Here, in bronze, we commemorate
the hardest fists of their day,
but more than all your victories,
it’s what you did not do that makes you great,
the time when you’d drawn a world title fight,
to be up to a world title,
and America was going wild
for a second bout to settle it,
and the world was urging you
to take it, and win it this time round.
But no, you came back to Wales
to keep your word to the home
for orphaned Cardiff children
where you’d been raised. You kept faith.
You had to keep your promise;
lost a prize, retained a soul.
Irishman of the deadly fists,
your daring was to turn back;
your heroism was restraint,
your liberty was to stay bound,
and a greater honour than success
was your failure – for the children’s sake.
The author, from Coedpoeth near Wrexham, who also supplied the English translation, is a journalist with BBC Wales, He now lives in Canton, Cardiff. We are very much indebted to him for giving us permission to publish his splendid tribute to one of Irish Cardiff’s most enduring heroes.
Called simply ‘Peerless Jim Driscoll’, this poem was first published in the Welsh language poetry journal, Barddas No 258, June / July / August, 2000.
It was later included in Grahame Davies’s volume, ‘Cadwyni Rhyddid’
(‘Chains of Freedom’), also published by Barddas.
This collection of poems set in Cardiff was awarded the Arts Council of Wales Welsh Language Book of the Year Prize at the Hay‒on‒Wye Festival, 23 May ‒ 1 June 2002.