Monday, 25 April 2016

On seeing bluebells

On seeing bluebells beneath Clifford’s Tower, York

there are definitely    one hundred and fifty Jews
bluebells, oaks, sandwiches       at night seeking protection

sunlight on cut wheat       on this site in the royal castle

Inspired again by an exercise of Helen Mort, putting together two contrasting pieces of poetry. This is just the beginning.
York is a lovely city, I know, I spent over three years there as a university student back in the 60s.  One of its commanding sites is Clifford's Tower (see pic below), a round stone keep once part of a much bigger castle, but with a particularly cruel incident in its history that took place on the eve of a special shabbat in the spring of 1190.  So the poem is about that, and about a childhood memory which also took place in a village near York where I spent childhood summer holidays at the farm where my mother came from.  Of course bigotry-inspired killings continue to happen - only today I heard of gay activists being killed in Bangladesh, and people seeking refuge from war or persecution in the UK are demonised. Physical attacks increase on Jews, Muslims, minorities.

With thanks to Michael Clarke for the use of
his bluebell photos (which I have manipulated)

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