“Taliesin at Midsummer’s Eve”

The high symbolism of the day
Has sharpened my senses, so I feel
The spirit and power of my Lord—
And the bounds between worlds wear thin.
But on this Eve of eves,
All created time is Midsummer,
And the borders are opened this night.

I See.
Llogres falters in the great Dance;
Arthur stumbles in the race,
And the nation stumbles with him.
With Llogres’ fall upon its way,
Free men cast off their service
To take rough chains upon their wrists.

Britain rises to take Llogres’ place
In the Dance mirrored in the stars,
And other families will rise
To stand in the Pendragon’s stead.

From the mountain of the Lord
The people he had chosen fled in fear;
In awe Moses ran toward it and God.
Here on this isle, the people flee
The Lord and his anointed;
But Arthur runs to the Lord, his Patron,
Yielding for a time his earthly crown
But gaining an eternal name.

This poem, though late in the internal chronology of the series, was probably written quite early, so probably originally my sophomore or junior year of high school. I made some thorough but superficial revisions when I overhauled the whole series, but until some further tweaks this week I didn’t consider it at all presentable. I’m still unsatisfied with some features, but longtime readers know that I can be something of a perfectionist when it comes to my own poetry.

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 follow this blo, which includes one of my poems every Friday, or read other poems I’ve written here on my blog (starting with yesterday’s archive installment, since the full archive is by now, at well over a hundred poems, somewhat daunting); I’d especially like to know, as part of my preparations for a collection, which poems you think are my best. You may also share it with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This poem is also archived on my wiki.


5 thoughts on ““Taliesin at Midsummer’s Eve”

    • Thank you, Maria. I’ve tried to write a summary history (like the one above) for each poem where I know when and how I revised it; unfortunately, I only started tracking this in my files a couple of years ago, so most of the history is lost in the fogginess of my memory.


        • That’s indeed what I’ve (usually) tried to do, when I can think of something to say (though I’ve tried to avoid saying too much about what I intend for a poem to mean, or otherwise preempting proper critical reading, while if necessary—as with the “Song for O’Carolan”—providing needed background that many readers won’t have). But having something—yet not so much as to distract too much from the poem—to say can be as troublesome, sometimes, as having a poem to post in the first place. (For similar reasons, you can see how the amount of text accompanying each link in the Poetry index Page has changed over time, beginning with nearly a full paragraph but quickly tapering off to one brief sentence, if that.)


          • Yes, I can see that commenting on the poems is problematic in various ways. There is no need, I wouldn’t think, for you being hide-bound to uniformity in how you do things. This is your book. Do what you feel is best, praying of course, which I know you do.


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