It’s tranquil here on summer days, green meadow and gold barley,
steady beat of August rain deep-puddles clay and marly.
Dormice scuttle in the hedge, grey squirrels are in glory,
blackbird, from yon ancient oak, sets music to my story.
Fort and church lie in my path, how strange the two cohabit,
ghosts of worthies haunt the one, the other’s home for rabbit.
The cottager, with all his brood, in yonder churchyard moulders,
while ‘neath the mound lie splintered bones of tribesmen, chief and soldiers.
I never thought of bloody war in these my woods and valleys,
yet beneath my very feet lie many dread reveilles.
God knows I wade through mothers’ tears whichever way I wander,
of men who gave us freedom’s choice to cherish or to squander.
My mind’s-eye sees a troubled land where factions fan upheaval.
Power-drunk – they lunge and kill with disregard for evil.
I hear the clash of Celtic swords, see Saxon spears fly flashing.
Now Vikings from their long-ships leap and o’er the sand come dashing.
Norman arrows, from the sky, pin down the weary English,
swordsmen, charging on the scene, beleaguer and extinguish.
They crush the white rose on the red and fill the fields with gore.
Then all around in Civil War I hear the canons roar...
I waken now as kingdoms merge to form a mighty nation,
sensing that salvation lies in peaceful integration.
For common-people are the glue that holds a land secure,
and such a land, where all are one, will prosper and endure.
Yet even now there float dark clouds across the sunny skies.
Forming in new phobic-groups, diverse communities arise.
Politics of identity are full of fatal flaws,
for tribal lands, we’ve seen before, are prone to tribal wars.