Friday, May 21, 2021

Publication in Long Poem Magazine.

Delighted to be in this. The first chapter of the story of Vortigern and Hengist's daughter which follows on from A Presentment of Englishry. 

The second chapter is up at

The story begins with the nameless narrator being sold. His new master gives him instructions:

Come! I promise, you will not be harmed. 

Of course, he lied. Behind that door 

was something worse than many kinds of death.

But the spears for emphasis, 

so I followed him inside.


The door hanging fell and cut the light behind us.

A single room, walls heavy with dark tapestries,

bright embroidery flicking the firelight.

A single loom, a bed behind a curtain,

a tripod burning something fragrant.

A hag, slack-jowled and toothless

looked up from her spindle, unconcerned

and a woman, in profile by the central hearth

rose. I blinked.  Words 

acknowledging their limitations disappeared. 


This is my daughter. You will teach her;

British, Latin, you were a Christian, you will 

explain your god. The list had been rehearsed.

Though he spoke like a man treading a considered path,

scared as I was, his ambition seemed a little crazed. 


You will sing her the songs of your people.

We sail for Britain in the spring.

If you live that long, I will take you with me.

Until then you will teach my daughter. 

She will be a queen; my grandsons will be Kings.


Repeat what I just said.

I did but failed to reproduce his certainty.