Jack Hindley


Winter (Angevins)

Blood that seeps an inch or two then stops seeking the earth

embalmed in ice and snow and dirt a muddy red.

To the victor such spoils of ragged English turf

to mutely whisper noli nos tangere the Towton dead


Was this the gamble, or was this the choice

Made without haste when thought came to us clear

and spare in tenebrous lanes with plangent voice

from sleeping shades of time no longer near


It could not have seemed so for these late men

With stately drums abrupt against the iron din

and kicked up clods of snow still shrouding them

White, inviolate, cognatic brethren


Up the London Road clanked these Norfolk folk

Late, slow, as faint that other sound sang out

of blade on bone; familial as doubt

Until at last their palm procession broke

down the hill through that first gunpowder smoke

to charge pell-mell to crown a bloody rout

till steeped in gore an inch or two we stand

or fall in ice snow dirt and join the land


And who to bury them, what men were these

To hack through frozen ground; with forks and hoes

and broken swords throw up a last shelter

where we, that other Lazarus, arose.