Friday, July 29, 2011

On Warwick Castle

I'm off on my holidays soon, so here's a poem post instead of prose
- apologies for the lack of formatting; no time to do the proper indents here - and please be aware that comments may not appear until after I return.

Catch you all on the flipside!

On Warwick Castle - a 25 page poem - was written during my year-long tenure as Warwick Poet Laureate and published as a pamphlet by Nine Arches Press in 2008. Many thanks to them!

This is the first page. And yes, that's my own made-up Middle English.

On Warwick Castle

One year floods rose,
one year they fought in the snows,
one year hail fell, according to the Cantos
(Canto IX, to be precise)
and that year there were metal-tipped arrows
loosed from embrasures
and hot pitch
dropped out of diabolic machicolations
and other fourteenth century garrison defences
and holes cut for cannon
and two dank side rooms in Guy's Tower -
one possibly a bedchamber
the other reserved for calls of nature -
and down it went.

And þa mudde þær wæs so thicce
þæt wuden patens motan we weren
Forþæt ure feet he may not stynk

And the old man bent with his shovel
under that filthy drop
and there were many flies there
and a breathless heat in the white tents before battle
and a young boy with his skull dented by a mattock
and the want & the waste of it
and still the rallying cry 'For Warwick!'

the half-pint at dusk for the regular staff
and the brass-eyed army of cleaners, steady
in trainers and flip-flops
with steaming mops and buckets
come to wash it all off, swabbing down the turrets
from courtyard to dungeon, from parapet
to parapet, from Royal Weekend
to lavatory block.


Kiru Taye said...

I like it. Well written, Jane.

Poetry Pleases! said...

Dear Jane

Dix sur dix. No poubelle beckoning here! Et bon voyage!

Best wishes from Simon

Talli Roland said...

Wow - love it, Jane.

Have a great holiday!

pf said...

I hope they sell this as a book in the Warwick Castle shop. In spite of the tourist trappings the castle remains utterly spooky.