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THE FIRST WORDS OF TALIESIN

I am Taliesin
I sing perfect metre which will last until the world's end
I know why an echo answers again
Why liver is bloody, why breath is without colour, why silver shines
I know why a cow has horns
And why a woman loves a man
Why milk is white and holly green
Ale bitter and ocean brine
How many spears make a confrontation
How many drops make a shower of rain
I know why there are scales on fish and black feet on swans.
I have been a blue salmon
A dog, a stag, a roebuck on the mountain
A stick, a spade, an axe in the hand
A buck, a bull, a stallion
Upon a hill I was grown as grain
Reaped and in the oven thrown
Out of that roasting I fell to the ground
Pecked up and swallowed by the black hen
In her crop nine nights lain
I have been dead, I have been alive
I am Taliesin.

- translated by Robin Williamson

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