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Posts Tagged ‘Taliesin’

PROPHECY IN THE MORNING

Tra mor, tra Brython,

Haf ny byd hinon;

Bythawt breu breyryon

Ae deubyd o gwanfret,

Vch o vor, vch o vynyd,

Vch o vor, ynyal ebryn,

Coet, maes, tyno a bryn.

Small gods consume lesser gods

To become great gods.

Simple ideas coalesce

To plot the downfall of worlds.

Ye prophetic poets who starve in corners.

Ye warrior kings who walk on mothers’ sons.

Ye ocean depths. Ye wild autumn skies.

Ye ultimate icy silences. Ye forests singing.

Words that lack mouths fall impotent.

Memories that lack accuracy

Become stories for the bored and enervated.

Today, like every day,

Is the last day of this bright world.

Today, like every day,

Will become ashes glowing in the cooling evening.

What will you do to sustain?

What will you do to glorify?

What will you do, O foolish ones,

To mimic eternity, and fail?

I am Taliesin and I am bitter dust.

Bright browed and grown from circumstance.

A seed swallowed by a great mother, hatched and thrown adrift.

If my words bite hard, they are to waken you.

Your footsteps are poison

Wherever you tread.

How shall reparation be made?

Pop arawt heb erglywaw – nebawt

O vynawe pop mehyn.

Yt vi brithret a lliaws – gyniret

A gofut amwehyn:

Dialeu trwy hoyw gredeu bresswyl.

The words in Welsh are from The Prophecies of Taliesin:

At the beginning:

As long as there is sea, as long as there are Britons,

There will be no fine weather in the summer;

Feeble will be the lords who come to them

Through deceiving the weak.

An attack from the sea, an attack from the mountain,

An attack from the sea, the uninhabited region in tumult,

The wood, the field, the hollow and the hill.

and at the end:

Every supplication going completely unheeded

By the lord of every place.

There shall be turmoil and tumult in the host,

And spreading tribulation:

Acts of vengeance mixed with constancy of fair promises.

Prophecies accumulate their own veracity.

They become the origin and end point of themselves.

Boulders thrown into a stream,

Turbulence upstream and down.

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FROM TRE TALIESIN TO YNYS LAS

1

We climbed the ladder road,

The wind road, peeling away distance,

Letting it drop curled below us

And the wide river mouth talking

Of nothing but the past it has known,

And the sands blowing snakes of words

Across the scoured wet flats

Where the land once was – a safe

And green world sloping down to sunlit seas,

Where now are tiny fishes and wriggling worms

And the hush of marram and the high wail of gulls.

2

That river has a poet’s mouth –

Meandering and easy, opening out to sunlit distance

The glory of horizons and a sweep of dangerous current.

I have sat on Taliesin’s grave

Gnawing his white knuckle bone

Between my teeth, tasting the marrow of bitter truth:

That there are no primary domestic bards here

But only the drone of tractors bailing sweet green hay

And thin clouds carded by wind over the bay towards Borth,

And a lazy river snaking between wavering weeds of slap-brown mud.

Swung between the rugged and the banal, lost on thin white roads.

These words, at best, are dry-stone, held together by habit

And a certain gravity that is the stubbornness of breath.

Look out, look down from here, from the throne, from the tomb,

From the seat of recognition ( the sword pulled out, the sword sheathed again).

We long for peace and call for peace,

Knock on the doors in the hills for our admittance

But have forgotten the password and cannot satisfy the gatekeeper

With our unconvincing boasts of embroidered skill.

It is not to do with pronunciation,

It is not to do with truth.

It is the quality of our hunger,

The rain-sated weight of bland inheritance,

The mouthed repetitions.

But let that go. Let the wind sweep it clear,

Let the estuary throat sweep away the salt bitterness.

The world is bright, regardless. It shines in the sun, regardless.

And the song remains, regardless.

Though no one hears it.

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ECLIPSE CYCLE

Soot black is the smith of sullen silence.
That shadow sitting always beside oblivious brightness.
Both watch the long hours –
Time fermenting with horizon’s rim,
Belly of the mother instinct hatching another triplicity.
Old gods making new gods.
An eternal chase, the subject becoming object,
The percept, concept.
Mind mazing itself ( as it does),
Its own lurking, horned monster.
This dance is neurological, biological, botanic,
A mitosis, a meiosis, a synthesis, a metabolism, an eclipse.
A hungry chasing wolf devouring light.
Crouched by the fire, our faces warmed,
Our backs chilled by starlight.
To make sense of this short story,
A fading posy of reasons,
A crushed sweetness of bedstraw.
The bards will sing and for a moment
We shall remember and forget
Everything that is and is not ours.
Visit the gods and get drunk with them.
Wordless, understand everything
Before the light of dawn
Spreads a bleak cold.

In most ancient cosmological myths the importance of the relationship between sun and moon and their meeting at eclipses are central to the understanding of how things are. To understand the world it is necessary to understand the dance of the powers moving above it. The tale of Ceridwen, Gwion Bach and Afagddu is a triplicity that might, at some levels of interpretation, be an exploration of the all important eclipse cycle, as well as the workings of the bardic process and the structure of human consciousness.

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SINTERED VOICES (DARK MATTER SPEAKS)

the river cracked open
becomes starry space

So many words it is a wonder that some peel through the razor noise intact
Not feathered limping, severed spluttering, gasping airless, a stupid music.

the void between emotions:
a valley wind that rolls stones

The howl continuous so familiar, the driver of conscientious actions.
Our names rumbling in the caverns of our ever drunken blood.

if the river runs silent
is it no longer a river?

Fearing silence most of all, we dress daily in chatter
Asking only that our dreams too have electric constancy.

listen, you mute guardians:
i will sing all your names

Oh, Enkidu, striding across tidy fields of tamed constraint
I shall kill you, too, though I love you more than life itself.

there are footprints on the moon
the dust of other lives, sighing

Taliesin, Taliesin, you burst from your womb-bag
Loud and shimmering. If you were not so beautiful
It would have been your tomb.

the silent centre of this land,
where is the end of all things

If you were not such a tricky lad
You would still be sitting next to inpenetrable darkness.

when there is knowledge
you shall be struck dumb

Yet here still you caper in circles around the utter void
Flapping your tongue and pulling faces.

all words, the debris
of other’s errors

all the masters have left us
as if they never were

fading petals pressed
between stained pages

an unexpected lightness
of forgetting why and how

this river, more song and sense
than a thousand nations

this tree, most eloquent
in its most eloquent, swaying silences

raven prophecy
whirlwind visions
the cataracts of unstitched minds
save us from all reasonable madness

we are adrift
on seas of fire,
and hungry,
so hungry, now.

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TALIESIN’S HANGOVER

We are the ghosts,
And the demons dance
Roaring in our blood.

The holy and the profane-
The weather of our tastes.

Better would be silence
Than a thousand poets
Limping their rhymes
Through barren landscapes
They mistake for freedom.

Bitterness shall wake us,
Beauty put us to sleep.

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BITTER , EVEN

Am nyt vo nyt vyd
Nyt vid am nyt vo

Since it may not be , it shall not be;
It shall not be since it may not be.

A bard would waste no time, waste no words.
(A flaying knife of quick tongue
to buck up the drowsing drunken lords.)

Forty years thrown away for one curious look
Beyond a dusty door.

The balm of forgetting ( the long war over)
The balm of art and of companionship
Shattered in cold salt winds.

The little island storm-wracked,
No pilgrims given shelter.

Proud Arthur unearthed the protecting head –
He thought the land needed nothing
But force and brave bluster
To keep it sound and sovereign.

Manawyddan turned cobbler
Who should have been king.
He chose a small, good life
Rather than justifiable strife.

And the bard knows,
The bard knows
That the future is a waste land, forever unmade.
And the present, only the hiss of foam spray
At the very edge of an eternal ocean,
The roaring, ever-flowering, accumulating past.

Boet gwir venhyt
Dragwynawl byt

Let there be true joy
In the sorrowful world.

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SPOILS OF ANNWN

Neb kyn noc ef nyt aeth idi –
Y’r gadwyn tromlas kywirwas ketwi

It is a soughing, is a sighing lament
a lament of oarstrokes, of labour
against a tidal fate, the rip-tides of honour,
of pride, of battle, of world’s collapsing.
It sings so with a heavy heart
the cracked glass of memory saying
all was lost, save us, and we returned lost:
the dark roads, the impenetrable fortresses,
the keening wind, the scent of snow and blood.

‘How many saints are there in the void?

May I not endure this sadness…’

And the roaring waves turning back
Drawn tight against the ripped sky
Banded, wheeled, armoured rings
And the horror of it is not even that darkness.
Inside these fortress rocks the lost echoed songs of the forever lost,
Transformed aching nothing twisted to silence
The thousands lost just trying, just looking,
The hinged doors screaming, the invisible worlds
Shuddering and refusing us their air, their shade.

Save seven, none came back.

Their air is not our air, their life and death not ours
To grasp at feathers and find fingers shredded to bone,
To look into eyes that look beyond days and nights.
And the ghosts of thought growing bold, and the doubts
That our good is not good, our right, a trespass unforgivable.
There was terrible beauty that cared nothing for us,
That would not let us rest or pass, terrible is such truth.

Unutterably shifted between worlds, gone, never returned.
Chaff words and book learning all shallow things
Now our eyes have been seared with countless strangenesses.

May I not endure this sadness.

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