Deeply reflective waters watched from behind bars
of modern steel, set, strong and deep in old stone.
Old, black pollution pocks and pits the window;
classless as any dead thing,
eyeless, yet beautifying.
Fanciful escapes, you may say,
a noble castle and a mobile river.
Three thousand yards to the far ridge
a longbow’s shot to cross the trading ditch;
a Scottish cannon shot from an earthen rampart.
A short walk to Beacon Hill
to see the Civil War battlefield,
buried by a brickworks and a trading estate.
‘Trade’ that should have been her name
or Aegis and Aesgir in the old tongues.
The flooded land secured the Lord Bishop’s castle,
entrenched and retrenched for five long centuries,
they guarded each other. Then Royalty and politics
and a war of unreason exposed Royal treason
in the King’s coach on Naseby moor.
Gunpowder, politics and plague
that ‘materiel ague’ laid waste to man and beast.
In time, town and king surrender
and the castle is torn asunder –
disrepaired by Cromwell’s word
and the town had a quarry
from a finely dressed ward.
‘The King is dead’, ‘long live the Protector’
and in one generation, another rotation –
‘The King is dead, long live the King’.
The old stone weathers and the waters flow to the sea…