For a generation, like weather cocks,
their skeletons swung near the highway.
James Price and Thomas Brown had robbed the Mail.
Years turned. The Gowy flooded and the heath
flowered. Travellers noted the bones
hanging in chains by the Warrington road.
Justices ordered the gibbet removed,
the remains disposed of. In Price’s skull,
while Napoleon was crossing the Alps
or Telford building bridges or Hegel
defining Historical Necessity
or Goya painting Wellington’s portrait,
a robin made its nest.
Note: The poem was first published by Chester Academic Press – http://Ashley Chantler (Ed), Life Lines: Poems from the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2004, 2005, ISBN 978-1-902275-51-2, £5.00. It was one of the first pieces to be published on the website in April 2009 and was subsequently published in ‘A Jar of Sticklebacks’ – http://www.armadillocentral.com/general/a-jar-of-sticklebacks-by-david-selzer