I am Taliesin. I sing perfect metre,
Which will last to the end of the world.
My patron is Elphin…
I know why there is an echo in a hollow;
Why silver gleams; why breath is black; why liver is bloody;
Why a cow has horns; why a woman is affectionate;
Why milk is white; why holly is green;
Why a kid is bearded; why the cow-parsnip is hollow;
Why brine is salt; why ale is bitter;
Why the linnet is green and berries red;
Why a cuckoo complains; why it sings;
I know where the cuckoos of summer are in winter.
I know what beasts there are at the bottom of the sea;
How many spears in battle; how may drops in a shower;
Why a river drowned Pharaoh’s people;
Why fishes have scales.
Why a white swan has black feet…
I have been a blue salmon,
I have been a dog, a stag, a roebuck on the mountain,
A stock, a spade, an axe in the hand,
A stallion, a bull, a buck,
I was reaped and placed in an oven;
I fell to the ground when I was being roasted
And a hen swallowed me.
For nine nights was I in her crop.
I have been dead, I have been alive.
I am Taliesin.
AnonymousNational Poetry Day Ambassador, Brian Moses says...
"‘I am Taliesin’ can be a model for new versions of the poem. Give yourself a new name - Awesomus, Brilliantina, Magnificento - and then boast like Taliesin about all the things you know, what you’ve been (animals/objects) and where you’ve been. Not all the boasts in the Taliesin poem are about great and important things. Many are strange and unimportant. Stretch their ideas so that ‘I have been a wolf’ becomes ‘I have been a white wolf howling in a midnight forest’."
Brian Moses lives in the small Sussex village of Burwash with his wife Anne, and a loopy labrador called Honey. He has been a professional children’s poet since 1988. Brian has visited thousands of schools and libraries across the UK to run writing workshops and perform his own poetry and percussion shows. He is also founder & co-director of a national scheme for able young writers administered by his booking agency Authors Abroad. Brian’s most recent books are; Spooky Poems (co-written with James Carter), a picture book The Frog Olympics and his childhood memoir Keeping Clear of Paradise Street, all published in 2015.