Poetry’s One Language: Taliesin in New Mexico

by Thomas Davis

Taliesin walked a sparse wood.
Pink and white stones sheered into cliffs.
This was not the wild seacoast where clerics and bards warred,
declaiming words of power,
but a land as dry as Job’s tongue:
“Where shall wisdom be found?”

The bard had stood on a black rock jutting into sea-fury.
He had called mists and forest spirits,
swarming to gestures and words like ghostly raiments,
then walked through a shimmering gate into sweltering skies.
Standing below a tall, red cliff, he sent his spirit
across a dry land and walked,
feeling poetry falter in the great silence.

On a sandstone table he stopped and stared at hairy black spiders.
A thousand scuttled across the red stone in frenzy.
He could not understand spider’s movement’s language.
He could not feel poetry’s spirit ebb and flow
where no coracle boats or sailing ships plied waves.

He studied a turquoise juniper tree’s green flame
and tried to feel how such small trees could walk,
but they seemed rooted in fields of pink and white stone.

Taliesin trudged with his staff through a long day.
Sun blazed; a horned moon, waxing, rose.
The bard’s heart shuddered.

How was he to escape a land where poetry was tenuous?
Where no selkie dived beneath waves into seaweed forests?

He listened: Women’s voices elegant and wild with frenzy –
Men speaking words as strange as the landscape.

A red wolf howled beneath stars and horned moon.
A cold wind blew.
Pinyon, pine, and juniper branches danced and sang.

The bard smiled and raised arms out of his brown robe.
He spoke poetry’s one language to night sky, trees, and wind.

A black rock jutted into a foaming, wind-driven sea.

Note: The is a rewrite of a poem posted a long time ago.

5 Comments

Filed under poems, Poetry, Thomas Davis

5 responses to “Poetry’s One Language: Taliesin in New Mexico

  1. This has such an epic sweep despite its relative brevity.

    “a land as dry as Job’s tongue”

    What a wonderful line. What a wonderful poem.

    I had a lovely surprise delivered by our postman. Thank you so much. I shall enjoy reading them both. And soon I shall send an e-mail too.

    • Ah Ben Naga, I am glad it has an epic sweep. Thank you. I hope you are doing well.

      • You have certainly imbibed enough of the epic to be able to continue the lineage. Thank you for your kind wishes. We are doing as well as can be expected. The more close attention one pays the more one realises that each day has its own quality and its message.

  2. I agree with what Ben said – this has an epic sweep. Very powerful writing, and I love when the bard smiled and raised his arms and the last two lines that follow.

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