Taliessin in the School of Poets
Taliessin studied the exactitude of language;
Juxtapositions of verb and clause,
(and the philosopher’s doctrines
of chains of cause and cause)
And the precision of noun and noun-case
In the Byzantine school.
While the Greek monks chanted hymns
And the streets under golden domes grew dim,
Each day Taliessin would dare
To sit and gaze upon her face
In the unguarded garden.
The Emperor’s daughter was delight given form;
The shape of her neck, a metaphor more profound
Than the scribbling whisps of Vergil’s verse–
Her eyes, the weight of balanced verse,
And the symbol of the harmony of poetry itself.
Honey and sunlight and ripened corn could not compare
To the golden hues of her flowing hair
As she wandered through the garden
Like the first mother in innocence.
Taliessin dreamed of what could not be.
The pitfalls of grammar, the uncertainty
Of words whose meanings, now lost and obscure,
No longer adequately describe Love.
The Llogrian poet sighed;
His own precision of language shifted,
And he thought of his native tongue
And the sound of the sea and the shape of the wave
(less grand or fair than her shape
but capable of being possessed by mere human mind)–
Suddenly, the Golden City seemed less fair,
The words of ancient poets hollow,
And the lonely despair of semibarbarous lands
On the Empire’s border, full of renewed promise…