AND WITH A LITTLE PIN


Flint Castel, Samuel & Nathaniel Buck, 1742

Flint Castel, Samuel & Nathaniel Buck, 1742

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On liberty’s last morning, he said mass

in the Great Tower – the chapel was cold

as winter. August’s sun warmed the rebels

riding along the estuary shore,

their drums silent. He watched from the walls.

At his back, the seas breaking on Ireland. King

and Usurper, first cousins, exchanged

purple words in the base court, a surfeit of

epithets: bombast, self-pity. Serfs

were indifferent but Richard’s dog fawned

on new majesty. The epicure

who bespoke a coat of cloth of gold

rode captive from Flint to London in the same

suit of clothes. Through Chester he was jeered, stoned.

 

Twenty miles inland,  a sandstone hill

 – sheer to the west – rises from the plain.

Parliament’s army sacked the castle.

Westwards there is the estuary’s mouth,

the livid sea. Above twitching fern,

a hawk stoops. Stones, flung into the well’s blackness,

fall through the hill seawards and never sound.

 

Beeston Castle, Cheshire, Benjamin Pouncy, 1773

Beeston Castle, Cheshire, Benjamin Pouncy, 1773

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