Taliessin atop the Tor
Taliessin stood atop heaven’s nail.
There upon St. Michael’s mount the feel and the smell
Of summer burned like sweet incense of Byzantium
All around him; and the primrose growing wild
On the slopes of the sacred-hill
Swept up the king’s poet, in will and in want,
Grieving there, for a time, with the memories
That haunt his noble, shining brow–
Memories of the domes and the founts of the Imperial City,
Riches unfathomable (both of wealth and wealth of learning)
By men who had not see its glory; the stories
Of journeys made there seemed to his friends
Here in the westerlands as the stories of the Quest
And the Grail hidden in the city of Sarras to later men.
Images and memories, the sounds, the smells, the very feel
Of the place permeated Taliessin…and there Sophia,
Overshadowing all his memories like the holy church of the City,
(the glory of the Roman-genius of architecture and form)
Standing above form and metre, rhyme and rhythm,
Sent the glorious scent of her beauty
(so fair, so pure, like the frankincense of the Holy Liturgy)
Through the air where the king’s poet stood.
Taliessin felt the weight of the Holy Rood standing atop heaven’s nail.