These words worked the long day Harold died,
when Norman French swept up the slope of Senlac Hill
and English grammar broke and bled into the dusk.
Harold rotted in his unmarked grave,
but the tattered remnants of his word hoard
colonised the globe. Linguistic vertigo:
fall and find yourself, there in the shield wall,
beating battle-axe on war-board, chanting
“Out! Out! Out!” as the chain-mailed tide,
grey as the Channel, flows up the hill.
(originally published in Lady Godiva and Me, This version printed in Rough Spun to Close Weave.)
(And all the words in the first line are found in Old English)