Cyril Haearn wrote:The poem is about drowned villages, specifically (?) Capel Celyn that was drowned to provide water for Liverpool
Whatabout me? Like most on here, I am half Welsh and half English
The scum of the forests, what does Cugel think of that?
That reservoir poem of RST's is like many of his others. One must read between the lines a bit; and have an understanding of what the old clergyman was a-worrit with. The poem isn't complaining about "the English" in any xenophobic way but rather just remarking that the commercial, industrial and cultural impact of Wale's immediate neighbour (England) has effects on what Wales had become and was/is becoming.
There's no denying that parts of the Welsh landscape were pounced upon and used for the needs of often remote English interests only, such as village-drowning reservoirs, horrible mines, obliteration of native forest trees by commercial softwood species et al. The Welsh have only recently managed to wrest back control of some of these things, such as the forestry, where the polices are changing from having forests as nothing but sources of profit via paper and fuel-making to providing a greater diversity (of species, access and use).
And there was certainly a lot of policy imposed by various British governments that attempted to obliterate the Welsh language from schools, local councils and many other Welsh social services. Today the Welsh language is still in danger of extinction (along with much of the associated culture) simply from the overwhelming cultural hegemony of English-based stuff, much of it from Yankland as well as just over the border.
RST's poem observes some of these pressures on Wales, treated for so long as a second-class bit of Britain (like many other parts of Britain) by the dominant force of what we might call "The Home Counties" and the London-centric government. It's a complaint that many who live outside of SE England could still make, with their own examples - different in detail to the Welsh examples but often very similar. Policies of exploitation or neglect. Imposition of policies not derived by the locals themselves but by some Parliamentary policy wonk trying to seem a go-getter.