“Taliesin and Blanchefleur”

Blanchefleur stands. O Guinevere the queen,
She was your sister once, or is it will be?
Times are all askew: what never was, or will be.

Ages, names, times, and titles,
All are lost in a swirl of years
Yet weigh on me as a burden of tears.

Distractions wheel about me.
I lose the mathematics of space, but gain
The fiery, intellectual passion of time.

Blanchefleur is daughter of kings
And kin to princes, heir to empire
And worthy of praise. Thanks be to God
For a magnificence such as her
In his creation. It gives a view of himself.

It was our first or second meeting,
In a contest of poets and a challenge of bards.
I had advanced further than I saw fit.
And then I met her in the final song;
The disputation vanished away.
I formed the song, and she the verse.
She showed me what poetry was
And discovered the music of the spheres
Through the Almighty through me.

As you can gather from the title, this is from my series of poems set in the Arthurian legends; I think I wrote it late in my first pass at the series, then didn’t revise it much when I did a mass-reorganization, and only recently returned to it again to edit it in preparation for this publication.

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, suggestions, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. (In other words, if you liked this poem, or you didn’t like it, or it made you think of something, or … please leave a comment to let me know.) If you liked this, you can also read other poems I’ve written here on my blog (starting with yesterday’s archive installment, since the full archive is by now, at over a hundred poems, somewhat daunting); I’d especially like to know which poems you think are my best.

This poem is also posted on my wiki.


5 thoughts on ““Taliesin and Blanchefleur”

  1. This is wonderful! Taliesin is not from the Arthurian legends, though. Although mixing him in is certainly interesting from a symbolic standpoint. He was a Celtic god best described in the English poet and novelist Robert Graves’ book, The White Goddess. Frank Lloyd Wright also used the symbol of Taliesin as the god of art during a time of great change when Christianity was slowly overtaking the White Goddess religion in Wales and the surrounding area. Sorry for the academic lesson.

    This is the first time on your site, and I’m going to have to spend more time there. From my rummaging around so far I am excited about what you are doing.

  2. Thank you for reading, and for your comment.

    (My only objection to such “academic” digressions would be that this might not be quite the best place, but as this blog doesn’t have a Page for this series of poems there isn’t really a better one.)

    As I say in my introduction to this series of poems (at the link in the first prose paragraph of the post), Taliesin is “court bard to Arthur, according to Malory, but also the subject of his own tales in Welsh myth”. But in any case, whether I’m right about Malory or not, this series of poems began as (an attempt at) a more-or-less deliberate homage to Charles Williams’ Taliessin through Logres and The Region of the Summer Stars, so placing him in the Arthurian legend isn’t a matter of symbolism so much as one of following my sources—though I apply my own literary conceit to the legends in my treatments of them.

  3. My comment can’t be that helpful, Jonathan, just simply saying I like the poem very much! It’s definitely one of your best. wonderful! all the technical aspects are in place, so a reader can feel this expression of joy!

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