Dark Age Sands
This is not how we planned it,
the careful sift stratified to mechanical layers,
a mosaic of meaning in the shattered soil.
Bury this and it comes back to you,
black particles that might be anything,
burnt beads preset from the bad day
the guttering candle’s wick extinguished
to eclipse when the princedom shattered.
Barbarians displaced in the dirt,
showing broken nosed contempt
for Imperial eagle bent double in retreat.
Shaking hands hold a ruined roundhouse
atomised by time,
a settlement of five hundred years,
backbone of this place that became nothing
by unblinking carnage of hoarded days.
Beneath this contour fold, field beneath
may be stained with torment,
displaced grains a storehouse that bards had laid,
replacing something now darker,
Monks’ town this was, bell toll decades,
who keened before plainsong
(palimpsest of incessant wind),
bitter coronach when longships came.
Before then, shanty lands under
the shadow of forest haunting rogues.
Boy from the vici brought down
by backhand blow from
enraging with his tribal blood.
Blood of a five thousand youths
who rose when Rome left,
whose lineage sanctified
Latin fools put aside all learning
knowing which way spear
may glisten in a keener wind.
When Collum Cill
(rageful saint with royal blood)
demanded Christ- brother Oran
be buried alive in the tide line
to claim the blood price
of his island forever,
he knew the cost that is now
Bury it and the lineage silt
rises in the throat,
mistletoe choking the oak
of knowledge growing,
root to canopy half alive