Friday, 28 October 2011

Taffy is a Welshman - Alun Rees

Alun Rees wrote this poem in response to the anti-Welsh 18th Century nursery rhyme: "Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief, Taffy came to my house and stole a piece of beef".

TAFFY IS A WELSHMAN

Taffy is a Welshman,
Taffy is no thief.
Someone came to Taffy's house
and stole a leg of beef.

Taffy made no protest,
for he doesn't like a row,
so the someone called on him again
and stole the bloody cow.

They stole his coal and iron,
they stole his pastures, too.
They even stole his language
and flushed it down the loo.

Taffy is a Welshman,
Taffy is a fool.
Taffy voted no, no, no
when they offered him home rule.

Six days a week upon his knees
Taffy dug for coal.
On the seventh he was kneeling, too,
praying for his soul.

And now the mines are closing down
and chapel's had its day,
Taffy still lives upon his knees,
for he knows no other way.

Now sometimes Taffy's brother
will start a row or so,
but you can bank on Taffy:
he doesn't want to know.

For when they hanged Penderyn
he had nothing much to say,
and when Saunders Lewis went to jail
he looked the other way.

Taffy is a Welshman
who likes to be oppressed.
He was proud to tug his forelock
to a Crawshay or a Guest.

They give him tinsel royals,
so he has a pint of beer,
and sings God Bless the Prince of Wales
as he joins the mob to cheer.

Now Taffy is a fighter
when he hears the bugle call.
Name any war since Agincourt:
Taffy's seen them all.

He's fought in France and Germany
and many another land;
he's fought by sea and fought by air
and fought on desert sand.

He's fought for many a foreign flag
in many a foreign part,
for Taffy is a Welshman,
proud of his fighting heart.

He's fought the wide world over,
he's given blood and bone.
He's fought for every bloody cause
except his bloody own.
Alun's collection of poems "Yesterday's Tomorrow" (Dinas) is highly recommended.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

always good to read Alun's version, especially as a few lines of the original made an unwelcome appearance in an article by an Irish Sports journalist before the recent Wales v Ireland rugby match in the World Cup.

It highlights the potent legacy the original version has and how anti Welsh sentiment is still considered acceptable.

glynbeddau said...

I was taught the lines

William was a Norman
William was a thief.
William came to my land.
And drove of all my beef.