Thursday, 31 December 2015

Bedd Taliesin

On the hill above Tre-Taliesin I munched a sandwich. I was sitting on an old tumulus, a burial mound probably dating from the Bronze Age. But to local people it was Bedd Taliesin, Taliesin’s Grave, a name that seems to have pre-dated the village below. But Taliesin died in the sixth century. Had Bronze Age funerary practices survived into early medieval times in this remote part of Wales? It seemed unlikely, and Taliesin would probably have had an early Christian burial. So why? Why this of a thousand tumuli?
Below was Tre-Taliesin.  Beyond that was Cors Fochno where lived Ceridwen. Beyond the marsh lay the sea. There, near my own home, Ceridwen had placed her unwanted child into a leather bag and thrown him into the sea. Beyond was site of Aber Leri and Gwyddno’s fish-trap where the child Taliesin had been found.
To the north was the massif of Cader Idris, shrouded in cloud. For a moment the cloud cleared. Through a notch in the foothills I could see the imposing summit from which Taliesin had returned after a night alone there, the greatest poet that ever lived.

From that spot alone I could see every point that was central to the physical and artistic creation of Taliesin: man, legend, and poet. Surely that was why it was called Bedd Taliesin.

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