Ex Libris Kirkland

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Editor Gwyn Jones
First Written 1977
Genre Poetry
Origin Wales
Publisher Oxford University Press
ISBN-10 0192118587
My Copy hardback, 1977.
First Read September 02, 2013

The Oxford Book of Welsh Verse in English

This is anthology of Welsh poetry, ranging from the 6th century to present day.

Noted on September 2, 2013

And you, Helen, what should I give you?
So many things I would give you
Had I an infinite great store
Offered me and I stood before
To choose. I would give you youth,
All kinds of loveliness and truth,
A clear eye as good as mine,
Lands, waters, flowers, wine,
As many children as your heart
Might wish for, a far better art
Than mine can be, all you have lost
Upon the travelling waters tossed,
Or given to me. If I could choose
Freely in that great treasure-house
Anything from any shelf,
I would give you back yourself,
And power to discriminate
What you want and want it not too late,
Many fair days free from care
And heart to enjoy both foul and fair,
And myself, too, if I could find
Where it lay hidden and it proved kind.

- Edward Thomas, And you, Helen, 1917ish

Quoted on September 2, 2013

I am Taliesin. I sing perfect metre,
Which will last to the end of the world.
My patron is Elphin...

I know why there is an echo in a hollow;
Why silver gleams; why breath is black; why liver is bloody;
Why a cow has horns; why a woman is affectionate;
Why milk is white; why holly is green;
Why a kid is bearded; why the cow-parsnip is hollow;
Why brine is salt; why ale is bitter;
Why the linnet is green and berries red;
Why a cuckoo complains; why it sings;
I know where the cuckoos of summer are in winter.
I know what beasts there are at the bottom of the sea;
How many spears in battle; how may drops in a shower;
Why a river drowned Pharaoh's people;
Why fishes have scales.
Why a white swan has black feet...

I have been a blue salmon,
I have been a dog, a stag, a roebuck on the mountain,
A stock, a spade, an axe in the hand,
A stallion, a bull, a buck,
I was reaped and placed in an oven;
I fell to the ground when I was being roasted
And a hen swallowed me.
For nine nights was I in her crop.
I have been dead, I have been alive.
I am Taliesin.

- Anonymous, 13th cent. MS

Quoted on September 2, 2013

Before my back was bent I was eloquent:
For wonders men acclaimed me,
And Argoed's men maintained me.

Before my back was bent I was confident:
A guest at wassails hailed
In Powys paradise of Wales.

Before my back was bent I was eminent
Of mien. My warspear led the attack;
Now bowbacked, downbent, trouble-racked

-- from Hateful Old Age, Anonymous, 9th cent.

Quoted on September 2, 2013

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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