Grand Slam 2005
OK, you Americans with your Red Socks and Boxer Shorts and Giants, do you think I care?
Not when Wales just won their first Grand Slam in the Six Nations Championship since 1978.
That was the era of Gareth Edwards, JPRWilliams, Phil Bennett. Names I never knew at the time. (I was just a four-eyed pubescent kid growing up in England.) Now it's Gareth Thomas, Gavin Henson, Shane Williams. A lot has changed. Then Rugby Union was still an amateur game (turned professional in 1996). Most of today's players weren't born. There were still a lot of those - what do they call them now? - oh yes, working coal mines.
But the Welsh can still play great rugby. And they still sing a bit too.
'Bread of Heaven' (Cwm Rhondda)
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah
Pilgrim through this barren land
I am weak but Thou art mighty
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven
Feed me till I want no more
Feed me till I want no more.
Open now the crystal fountain
Whence the healing waters flow
Let the fiery, cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliv'rer, Strong Deliv'rer
Be Thou still my strength and shield
Be Thou still my strength and shield.
When I tread the verge of Jordan
Bid my anxious fears subside
Bear me through the swelling current
Land me safe on Canaan's side
Songs of praises, songs of praises
I will ever give to Thee
I will ever give to Thee.
There will be singing on the streets in Wales tonight.
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Hugo Schwyzer - 3/20/2005
We sing it in church regularly. When my brother lived in Carmarthen for two years (doing research and teaching at Trinity College Carmarthen), I visited him; among other things we went to see Catatonia play at Margam Park near Port Talbot. After two hours of Brit Pop, they brought a Welsh male voice choir on stage and sang Cwm Rhondda (in Welsh, of course). Not a dry or sober eye in the whole park.
Happily, we sing it here at church... and somewhere, I still have my 1999 World Cup team kit.
Ralph E. Luker - 3/19/2005
Well, it's still good to know that you heathens can sing a good hymn to a good purpose. More power to ya!
Sharon Howard - 3/19/2005
Well, you know I'm a heathen: one of Max Boyce's 10,000 instant Christians for the rugby matches, that's me. But it's a great song, eh?
(I can also do a fair version of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of my Fathers), which I love, but this hymn is the true national anthem for Welsh rugby.)
Ralph E. Luker - 3/19/2005
We sing that wonderful hymn here in the States, as well. I love it and will be singing it with the Welsh tonight!
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