The Celtic classic Book of Taliesin includes a poem purportedly by the sixth-century bard Taliesin, telling the story of his past lives:

The second time I was created, I was a blue salmon. I was a dog, I was a stag; I was a roe-buck on the mountain side, I was a treasure chest, I was a spade; I was a hand-held drinking horn; I was a pair of fire-tongs for a year and a day; I was a speckled white cock among the hens of Eiden, I was a stallion standing at stud; I was a fierce bull; I was grain growing on the hillside… The hen, my enemy, red-clawed and crested, swallowed me. For nine nights I was a little creature in her womb; I was ripened there. I was beer before I was a prince. I was dead, I was alive.

In a way, isn’t this the story of all of our yesterdays and tomorrows? Yesterday you were an eater of food. Today—if it all works out—you will hopefully still be an eater of food. But one of these tomorrows, you will be food yourself. Ponder your journey, living matter.

Adapted from Reinventing the Meal (Somov, 2012)