Times of national crisis and historical importance have often been recorded for posterity in poem and song.
Now, the efforts to help Welsh businesses overcome the challenge of coronavirus have been captured in poetry by the National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn.
The poem – Yr Awen Fusnes – was commissioned by independent economic development company Menter a Busnes (MaB). It recognises the struggles faced by Welsh businesses during 2020, and acknowledges the hard work done by its staff to support and help enterprises adjust to operating in the pandemic.
Twice-winner of the Crown at the National Eisteddfod (1999 & 2013), Ifor ap Glyn was Children’s Poet Laureate for Wales (Bardd Plant Cymru) 2008-2009. He was appointed National Poet of Wales in 2016.
Ifor ap Glyn said,
“It's always a pleasure to celebrate Welsh entrepreneurship – and we need it more than ever, both locally and nationally. Thank you, Menter a Busnes for all your encouragement and assistance to that end!”
One of Wales’ leading economic development companies, MaB has seen an increase in the number of established businesses – and new start-ups – seeking advice during the pandemic.
MaB Chief Executive, Alun Jones, said,
“2020 has undoubtedly been a very challenging year for us all. Covid-19 has meant that, like many companies across Wales, we have had to adapt in order to be able to help our clients during this time.
“Ifor ap Glyn has successfully captured the challenges we have faced as a company in the poem Yr Awen Fusnes (The Business Muse). It is now a record of how we responded during these unprecedented times.”
Yr Awen Fusnes (The Business Muse) is not only inspired by MaB’s work helping Welsh businesses to build resilience and adapt to life during the pandemic – but also by MaB’s own experience.
Ifor also drew on the words of economist John Maynard Keynes, who said in 1946 that he had taken advantage of ‘the calm of war to reflect on the turmoil of peace’.
Like many employees during 2020, MaB’s staff have been working independently, but the spirit of togetherness remains.
A video of members of staff remotely reading the Yr Awen Fusnes can be seen on MaB’s Facebook and Twitter accounts (@MenteraBusnes).
This collaborative approach is further demonstrated by MaB’s charity fundraising efforts, in support of Hope House – Tŷ Gobaith children’s hospices.
Currently, several members of MaB’s Cywain team are walking the accumulative length of the Wales Coastal Path (870 miles) by Christmas Eve.
Using the hashtags #hopehike and #taithgobaith the team are sharing their milestones on social media and encouraging people to donate at
Yr Awen Fusnes
Canmolwn yn awr yr awen fusnes,
y llais sydd heb eto fagu eco,
y gân fawr sydd dal ym mrest aderyn bach.
A defnyddiwn ddyddiau’r dwymyn
i fyfyrio’r ail-gychwyn,
i fapio’r posibliadau,
cael ein mentora,
rhag i’r busnes newydd fynd yn rhacabobus,
rhag i’r hwch ddod ar gyfyl y siop.
Canys gweddw pob cychwyn
heb gymorth yn gefen…
ond ‘ceisiwch, a chwi a gewch’,
a dyna’n wir a gawn,
o ben arall y ffôn
neu hyd bys bant, ar y we;
dyma’r allwedd i lwyddo’n lleol.
Ac wrth hogi sgiliau
a meithrin cysylltiadau
cawn gywain profiadau newydd
i’r hen sguboriau;
mae’r awen fusnes fel arwain cân newydd
gydag eco soniarus yn dilyn ein llais.
Ifor ap Glyn
The Business Muse
Let us praise the zest for business,
the small voice yet to spawn an echo,
the loud song still boxed, in a small bird’s breast.
And we’ll use the plague days spent apart
to meditate on our re-start,
mapping out areas unentered,
so the new venture avoids being botched,
and steers well clear of going bust.
For initiatives are soon orphaned
without support at their backs…
But ‘seek, and ye shall find’,
and that indeed is what we do;
a phone call away,
an internet finger-click,
the key to each local success.
And as we hone our skills and their impacts
as we build up our contacts
we’ll garner new experience
into ancient grain-lofts;
our zest for business strikes up a new song:
a melodious echo that chimes with our voice.
(translation by Ifor ap Glyn)