For thousands of years poetry has touched the heart and soul of the human condition. It has told tales, spoken of innate truths, and even worked its own enchantments. A poet was truly a visionary, a prophet and an oracle. To be a Poet was to be a Shaman, and be able to travel throughout the realms of the unknown world.
Before the written word, tales and records where kept by the poets. Scrolls were too fragile to move from place to place, and not everyone had access to writing materials. The history of the clan or tribe was kept by the poet. Tales and mythology were sung gently over crackling fires, beneath glittering stars, to those with eyes wide open who never tired of hearing of the tales of old.
In the Celtic cultures these vision singers were known as Bards. To the bard, poetry is more than just words on a page, or a song rolling off the tongue. Bardic poetry carries its own magic, its own power of enchantment. In fact, it was a poem spoken by the Shaman/Poet Amergin that calmed dangerous seas and allowed the forefathers of the Gauls, the Sons of Mil, to invade Ireland.
Here is one version of the Song of Amergin that can be found by searching the internet.
I am Wind on Sea,
I am Ocean Wave,
I am Roar of Sea,
I am Bull of Seven Fights,
I am Stag of Seven Tines,
I am Hawk on Cliff,
I am Dewdrop,
I am Fairest of Flowers,
I am Boar for Boldness,
I am Salmon in Pool,
I am Lake on Plain,
I am a Mountain in a Man,
I am a Hill of Poetry,
I am the Point of a Weapon,
A Weapon fierce in battle.
I am the One who fills the head with Fire.
Who makes smooth the rugged mountains?
Who knows the ages of the moon?
Who knows the place of the sunset?
Who calls the cattle from the House of Tethra?
On whom does Tethra smile?
Who is the Troop?
Who is the One who places infections on blades?
Enchantments on the spear?
Enchantments of the wind.
I am Wind on Sea
Because poetry was memorized, it made the words all that more powerful and persuasive. There is something inspiring and moving about words that roll magically off of your tongue to fill the air around you. Words committed to memory bring comfort and peace when uttered.
The great bards and poets of old, including Merlin the great wizard and sorcerer to King Arthur, and Taliesin, the famous Welsh poet, utilized the power of poetry and song to learn valuable truths and to teach others. They knew the power of the spoken word could heal or hurt, give comfort or break apart. Whether sharing stories of old, or for pure entertainment, poetry speaks to us on a different level, elevating us to places we hence only dreamed of.