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Taliessin’s Repentance

9 February 2010

Through the solemn, eastern door
Taliessin rode from Camelot
Seeking silence and surcease
From the passions of courtly life;
The strife of the king’s council weighed
Heavily on the brow of the king’s poet
Who had been his champion in the wars
And before, had been a student
In the Byzantine school; to nought
Had come Taliessin’s hopes, betrayed
By the king’s bastard, the king’s brother,
And the disaster of the king’s law
Divorced from the king.  Unable to sing,
Taliessin left in search of repentance,
Gazing eastward to the palaces of the Emperor,
And on to the domes of the Holy Wisdom
Where sat enthroned and crowned
With victory’s gilded laurels
The struggles of all the saints; he waits,
Dreaming of the Emperor’s daughter,
The sea-breeze off the Propontis,
The bells of a hundred churches
Calling the faithful to their prayers,
And the Greek-chanting monks
(Agios o Theos, agios ischyros, agios athanatos, eleison imas.)
Standing before the Porphyry Stair.

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