A Song of Taliesin (Revised & Expanded)

I was a grain of wheat
In Cerridwen’s belly
That grew into a man.
Gwion Bach devoured,
Reborn with a radiant brow.
 
She sought to inspire
And I was inspired.
Inspiration meant for another,
But fate had other plans.
 
I stirred her Cauldron of Awen,
Its contents burned
Opening eyes and mind.
 
I was there
When the universe
Was a white-hot grain,
And will be there
When it is an ice-cold cloud
Spread thin by time.
 
I was there
In the valley of Rhun,
Before the years had been numbered,
By the shores of sunlight
When the fair ones
First gazed upon the trees.

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Shadows on the Sea

The shadow stretches
And grows
As the sun sets
Into the sea,
Until all is darkness.

From daybreak
Until dusk
The clock ticks
Tocks, clicks
Down to the docks.

Seconds and minutes
March in formation,
Precise, steady,
A perfect procession,
Never deterred
From the destination.

Inevitable, equitable,
Never early or late,
Arriving just
When it means to:

At Camlann,
In London Tower;
On the Senate floor.

In an Athenian jail cell,
A Dakota doorway;
In a cornfield in Iowa.

At Missolonghi,
In a Paris apartment;
On board the Ariel
— or was it the Don Juan? —
Sailing into the west.

3/30/19

 

This poem was originally posted on FreeVerse Revolution.

A Song of Taliesin

I was a piece of grain
In Cerridwen’s belly
That grew into a man.
Gwion Bach devoured,
Reborn with a radiant brow.

She sought to inspire
And I was inspired.
Inspiration meant for another,
But fate had other plans.

I stirred her Cauldron of Awen,
Its contents burned
And opened eyes and mind.

I was there
When the universe
Was a white hot grain,
And will be there
When it is an ice cold cloud
Spread thin by time.

I was there
In the valley of Rhun,
Before the years had been numbered,
By the shores of sunlight
When the fair ones
First gazed upon the trees.

I saw the Sword of Light
Forged by the sons of Twerios.
I saw the son of Vandar
Buried in the earth.
Family fragmented
Along the shores dispersed

I was there
When the flood waters came
And Cessair by Bandba was saved.
While Elfhame vanished
Under the waves.

I saw sister Alba
Lost in a foreign land.
Rescued by a knight
From the end of the world,
Reunited with her mother
She would be.

I was there
When Bran crossed the sea
To restore his sister’s honor.
I heard steel strike steel,
I saw the blood river run.

I sailed home
With Manawydan and Pryderi
To bury the king’s head
Facing the foreign lands.

I was there
When Degfed and Lleu
Sailed to Alfheim’s remnants
To make uncle Nudd whole.
The Sword of Light
And hand of silver flesh
Wielded against his brother
To restore him to the throne.

I saw the black blades forged
By twerger hands alone,
For Caswallawn
And the wealthy wolf
To drive the dark ones
From their home.

I saw a king
Seduced by chaos,
Abandoning justice;
Giving rise to a Dark Queen,
Dressed in green,
Bathing a kingdom
In self-indulgence,
Decadence and greed.

I was there
When Alberech
Threw down his cousin
By the black blade of Blaidd,
Watching his sea fortress burn,
A fire he lit
From a far younger land.

I watched
As he walked away
Into wilderness,
Into legends and dreams.

I was there
When the sons of Nemed landed
At the mouth of the Ituna.
Welcomed by fair Queen Uonaidh,
As if she’d been expecting them
All this time.
Giving them land and her daughters
As Prydein gave his name
To the land.

I was there
At Badon
When Arthur earned his name.
I heard the cheers,
I smelled the blood,
And knew it wouldn’t last.

I was there
On the Prydwen with Arthur,
Sailing to Eire or Annwn,
To rescue, to pillage,
And to have glory got.

I was there
At Camlann,
I saw Arthur fall.
Misunderstandings and murder,
Disintegration of the land.

I was there
When Gwion Bach
Stirred the Cauldron of Cerridwen
For and entire year.

I saw him burn,
I saw him alight.

I saw him devoured,
I saw him reborn.

I was there
When Elphin found the babe
And raised him as his own.
I heard him give the boy a name:
Taliesin.

9/7/18

The Wick’d Day of Destiny

Do you recall that wick’d day of destiny
At Camlann when Arthur fell
Near the corpse of murderous Mordred,
Nephew, some say the rightful heir
By the reckoning of the old ways,
Through his mothers blood,
As still practiced by our Pictish cousins to the north,
His noble blood still staining Caliburn’s blade?

The great king outlasting his sister’s son
By mere hours.
Enough to ensure his enchanted elvish blade
Was returned from whence it came,
Flung into calm waters,
Or—perhapse–taken over water
To that other worldly island
where it was forged by fay hands.

The king is dead,
The kingdom lost, fractured beyond repair.
Though the crown passes to another
None could now hold back the tide
That Vortigern let loose:
The barbarian men
Pushing us west and north,
And naming the land for themselves.

Yet hope still persists
In the tales we tell,
That the king merely sleeps,
Recovering from deadly wounds,
Nursed by fay magics.
To return one day,
Grasp his mighty sword,
And set us free.

12-11-17

Britannia

Clas Myrddin, Merlin’s Enclosure,
Ancient Elven sea fortress.
Albion, Alba’s isle,
Named for a goddess, a princess or a giant
—Or a giant divine princess—
Called Samothea after Samothes,
King of Celts,
Rich father Beli Mawr,
Husband of Danu, Mother of Irish gods.
Ynys Prydein, Isle of Britain,
Home to the Pritini,
Painted Pictish warriors,
Children of Cruithne MacIng,
Son of Fergus Lethderg,
Grandson of Nemed, High King of Éirinn
—Or a wandering tribe of continental Picts
Gifted land and women by Irish Royalty,
But definitely not a brutish patricidal
Trojan-Italian exile.

Land of Lear and Brennius burner of Rome.
Kingdom of Coel, Ambrosius and Arthur,
Home of Taliesin, Aneirin and Myrddin Wyllt,
Far beyond the north wind, adjacent to Avalon,
Doorway to the Otherworld in the West.

2/9/17