Primary Chief Bard

by Taliesin

English version by John Matthews & Caitlin Matthews
Original Language Welsh

Primary chief poet
Am I to Elffin.
And my native country
Is the place of the Summer Stars.

John the Divine
Called me Merlin,
But all future kings
Shall call me Taliesin.

I was nine full months
In the womb of the hag Ceridwen.
Before that I was Gwion,
But now I am Taliesin.

I was with my king
In the heavens
When Lucifer fell
Into the deepest hell.

I carried the banner
Before Alexander.
I know the names of the stars
From the North to the South.

I was in Caer Bedion
I accompanied Heon
to the vale of Hebron.

I was in the canon
When Absolom was slain.
I was in Llys Don
Before the birth of Gwydion.

I was patriarch
To Elijah and Enoch.
I was there at the crucifixion
Of the merciful Mabon.

I was the foreman
At the construction of Nimrod's Tower.
I was three times
In the prison of Arianrhod.

I was in the ark
With Noah and Alpha.
I witnessed the destruction
Of Sodom and Gommora.

I was in Africa
Before the building of Rome.
I came here
To the remnant of Troy.

I was with the Lord
In the manger of the ass.
I upheld Moses
Through the water of Jordan.

I was at the Cross
With Mary Magdalene.
I received the muse
From Ceridwen's cauldron.

I was a harping bard
To Deon of Lochlin.
I have gone hungry
For the Maiden's Mabon.

I was at the White Mount
In the court of Cynfelyn.
In stocks and fetters
For a year and a day.

I was in the larder
In the land of the Trinity.
And no one knows whether my body
Is flesh or fish.

I was instructor
To the whole universe.
I shall be until the judgment
On the face of the earth.

I have sat in the perilous seat
Above Caer Sidi.
I shall continue to revolve
Between the three elements.

There is not a marvel in the world
Which I cannot reveal.

-- from Taliesin: The Last Celtic Shaman, by John Matthews / Caitlin Matthews

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Recommended Books: Taliesin

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

Primary Chief Bard