Two brothers at arms length, both
earls of Orkney. Internecine
feud, inherited condition
or consequence of tradition.
Magnus sacrificed himself
to Haakon's axe man, saviour
of Orkney from civil war.
The memorial Cathedral of
St. Magnus, built by Earl Ragnvald,
tribute to his uncle's martyrdom
inspires the Bay of Kirkwall.
Within a pillar south of the ***** screen,
above head height and easily missed
was laid a block of lighter stone,
inscribed with a cross that guards the bones
of St. Magnus, focus of the pilgrim's dream.
It's that time of year.
I know what's good for them,
but their thorns resist,
like children being trained.
Exuberance must be contained
for the good of next year's growth.
They ***** me bringing blood,
having their own red way,
making my hands bloom,
as if their summer's here to stay.
He always stops to look at
school art displays, searching for
the old hiking boot paintings.
Examines them very closely,
not artfully, but comparing
wrinkles with his mirror image.
Their skin colour darker than his,
except for the newer, resented
interlopers. He doesn't trust them,
painfully rigid in their ways.
He favours those that have seen better days.
He stands above the bridged weir,
watching the sunlight striking
the waterfall, where stream joins river,
bright silver spray, subtle spectrum.
Ripples exhaust their energy
on the black glassy surface,
obscuring the waiting menace
pervading his dark imaginings.
He's beyond its reach, sheltered
by artifacts, though exposed
in stillness to ghostly thoughts,
cloaked in ancient folklores' clothes,
savage rites, evil onslaughts.
Documentary on fast forward,
lacking commentary, towns flash by
Coronation Street domestic dramas,
ordered rank and file urban pedantries.
Perhaps like one of those old westerns,
where they wound the scenery past
a mock-up stagecoach interrior,
so that's where all the porters went.
Rolling landscapes, seascapes, mile on mile,
stiles and paths and telegraph poles,
rain fraying skies and foaming sea,
criss-cross links and creaking carriages.
Slowing down, a shuddering stop,
stiffened limbs begin to flop,
stiffened brains still travel dizzy,
busy station, platform tizzy.
The Earth is bleeding red and slow,
shuddering in a hot sweat,
cracking it's stretched skin, projectile
vomiting its rumbling guts.
My people run. Too late! Too late!
The Earth God's anger seals their fate.
Stone encased we shall remain, until
the curious unveil our pain.
Words that flame, words that shame.
Words! Words! Words!
Words we shouldn't use.
Words politicians choose.
Words that blame, always the same.
Belligerent words, ignorant words.
Words of beauty and of song.
Words the Saxons spoke,
or some Anglian bloke.
Welsh words, Celtic words.
Words from round the world.
Words recently known to few.
Words that Wordsworth knew.
All in Oxford's Dictionary,
even meanings lost in history.
The Oxford Dictionary