A Poem for the Wind

by Taliesin

English version by Robert Williams
Original Language Welsh

Guess who it is.
Created before the Flood.
A creature strong,
without flesh, without bone,
without veins, without blood,
without head and without feet.
It will not be older, it will not be younger,
than it was in the beginning.
There will not come from his design
fear or death.
He has no wants
from creatures.
Great God! the sea whitens
when it comes from the beginning.
Great his beauties,
the one that made him.
He in the field, he in the wood,
without hand and without foot.
Without old age, without age.
Without the most jealous destiny
and he is coeval
with the five periods of the five ages.
And also is older,
though there be five hundred thousand years.
And he is as wide
as the face of the earth,
and he was not born,
and he has not been seen.
He on sea, he on land,
he sees not, he is not seen.
He is not sincere,
he will not come when it is wished.
He on land, he on sea,
he is indispensable,
he is unconfined,
he is unequal.
He from four regions,
he will not be according to counsel.
He commences his journey
from above the stone of marble.
He is loud-voiced, he is mute.
He is uncourteous.
He is vehement, he is bold,
when he glances over the land.
He is mute, he is loud-voiced.
He is blustering.
Greatest his banner
on the face of the earth.
He is good, he is bad,
he is not bright,
he is not manifest,
for the sight does not see him.
He is bad, he is good.
He is yonder, he is here,
he will disorder.
He will not repair what he does
and be sinless.
He is wet, he is dry,
he comes frequently
from the heat of the sun and the coldness of the moon.

-- from Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe & Oceania, Edited by Jerome Rothenberg

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

This is more than a poem in the common sense; it is an evocation, a summoning. Taliesin's words are chant-like, a driving, building rhythm of attributes. As he names these qualities, notice that he is also taking us through a series of transformations that lead to an awareness of unity.

Like a shaman in the great primal traditions, the bard is calling forth the presence of the Eternal within our awareness, using the wind as a metaphor.

Why the wind? The wind, like "the Great God" who created it, is powerful, covering everything, yet it is formless and intangible. It is "without flesh, without bone..." It is ancient before time, "Created before the Flood," and it is eternal, "It will not be older, it will not be younger, / than it was in the beginning."

To some readers, the following lines may seem like a fierce vision of the Divine:

He is bad, he is good.
He is yonder, he is here,
he will disorder.
He will not repair what he does


We must understand that these words do not proclaim a god or force of arbitrary actions, one that is alternately "bad" and "good." Instead, this is the great vision of the Divine beyond the duality of opposites. "He is bad, he is good." Everything flows from this all-pervading force, and it is only the limited vision of the mind that defines it as sometimes "good" or sometimes "bad." This is a vision of grand wholeness that shatters our limited notions of morality and opposites. This is shown by the many other lines where contrasts are brought into unity: "He is yonder, he is here... He is wet, he is dry... He is loud-voiced, he is mute."

The "disorder" is the overturning of our limited perception that divides reality into separate units of beings/objects/meaning, to be replaced by a living, fluid Oneness. To one still entranced by the illusion of duality, that sounds like chaos, "disorder." But, when that nondual awareness reveals itself, "He will not repair what he does," for it is already complete. It is the false order created in the mind that must be repaired.

Bold, primal, a soul confronting the great adventure...



Recommended Books: Taliesin

Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe & Oceania Taliesin: The Last Celtic Shaman





A Poem for the Wind