This is a Spenserian homage under construction.
I reserve the right to alter or expunge it.
I welcome suggestions towards efforts with respect to the former.
He who swells his stuffy shirt
Can’t take upon, cannot controvert
The flag it bears of a failed state
That a foreigner does regulate,
A lady over immense waves
Who waves again and abjures slaves.
A King, a Queen, a gentle Knight,
On nation states the ages smile,
Their history an infantile
Rendering of a child’s defiance,
A brood of tots in wan alliance.
In the academic groves
Where theory toils, it ill behoves
One to imagine little more
Than regal red in tooth and claw
To dash heads over parapets
Of Montagues and Capulets.
Once in England, Monarchs came
From far away and not the same
Language carried, as of those
Wearing woad and wrinkly hose;
They spoke French or German even,
Held our tongues out in replevin.
He finds it not incongruous
Nor at all preposterous,
To pay fealty, all for show
To a lady he will never know
Or meet. She’ll not walk his street
Or gracefully accept his seat.
Others rage at the tyranny
Of distance; they hark at the jubilee,
Try to persuade us that a true
Local also may rendezvous
With destiny and thus preside
At a diplomatic regicide.
He felt a stranger in this land of his,
Missed the passion and the fizz
Of old and in turn, he felt old,
Light bad and with middle stump bowled
Over hills and far away,
What to like and why to stay?
And he felt a perfect fool
With those selected to misrule
The country and its myrmidon
Who roll the stone and sink the swan,
So we see him ready primed
To make an exit, finely timed.
Sly She held a smaller part
Of him, a sweet slice of his heart,
On behalf of a tiny place
Unthawed by time its populace
An endless summer afternoon
In which to do the rigadoon.
Her aged father came from there,
A past ambiguously bare
Of meaning, of commitment.
From the mossy firmament
Iconoclastic flowers sprang
To sabotage and overhang.
And yet so to assimilate
With the push and second rate
Customs of the gentle folk,
A schooner and a racist joke
Or three would not get in the way,
Nor stymie the desire to stay.
Weekend shadows dominate
The native, plaintive rays of hate
And in his zeal, the patriot
Constructs a stake for the polyglot.
Could this ever happen here
In such a mild atmosphere?
There is gloom in the far-flung north
And murk as the chasseur sallies forth
To render nearby, larger lands
Able to tenderize lazy hands;
An Estonian does pack more punch
In the sniper joke from Ploughman’s Lunch.
In warmer climes where seas don’t freeze
And there is no ice in the summer breeze
She’s lucky in her lot but has no idea
Of what she’s missed or what to fear.
Though she is the one true Queen
Of Estonia, tis a distant demesne.
She does not demand a chart be drawn
To show who by and from she’s born,
There is no need to laud the sire
Whose issue never does aspire
To light the lamp as a legacy
In honour of the brave, the free.
The history card must now be played.
Those ignorant of the Livonian Crusade
Can search the web or read on here,
Nurse their glass and persevere
For to tell of now I must go back
To days prefiguring the almanac.
Tacitus speaks of the rich amber
Gotten in his pages of Germania,
Where the Aesti hunt for wild boar
To eat and wear till their skin is sore.
In savage days before soap was safe
Death comes on legs that scuff and chafe.
For barbarians work out in the end,
Divine the value in goods they send
And exploit them with a chary view
To profit, the harbinger of the true
Words spoken of man’s evil bent;
To those who can, a static lament.
Littoral with which you fall in love,
Your obsessions, arctic skies above –
The woman that consents to slay
All traces of a waning day,
Iconoclast slow to catch on fast,
Wood may burn and yet might last.
From dead wastes comes slang afresh
And mores, slow to hang the flesh
Of names divergent from our own
And scratched upon a hallowed stone,
Sagas of engagement where
An ancient tells what he can bear.
Fly from woodland strife did he
And deified he came to be,
Tarapitha, god of shadow,
Born of an imbroglio,
Symbol of a prayerful peace,
A multiplying chersonese.
A sunny, quiet cold relates
Diverse events on the same dates;
An iceberg floats unto the shore
Where tired swans lay down their lore
And hellish lightning intercepts
His burning feet on icy steps.
Far from the wooded fort descend,
Put up thy sword, to not offend
Marauders here who seek and strive,
To search, to leave no god alive
Or acolyte; all quit the scene
And labour in a new demesne.
To Tartu, the scholars’ home
Where demigods can lounge or roam,
Angelic nesting fugitives,
Relieved of dark alternatives,
Ingest the seasons and the bounty
Of a kinder, gentler county.
The demigods were hunted down
And stripped of their antique renown
By cads and other travelled folk,
Who seized Ixion and broke
The mighty back upon a wheel,
Not to understand, nor feel.
Over, and over, and again
Was this fortress breached and then
A local master’s stage is set
To reconcile, to pay the debt,
Wander freely in dark woods
And let us live our livelihoods.
Let us: avoid absolution
And to: manage retribution,
Redolent of coups d’etat
Where we briskly lower bar,
In order to make order
Of the analeptic border.
It all comes back to Russians of course,
Their calm insistence and love of force,
Hard won traditions no longer moot,
Leavened by the hob-nailed boot.
They may depart the black scorched earth
Yet leave such unfenced tract in mirth.
For a bear will roam and stretch and reach,
To stake its claim and surely teach
The other forest animals
Not to push and shove in crowded halls.
Line up quietly for their small beer
And ignore the ones that disappear.
Leisured carving on a plate,
Walk into another state
And find a message left for thee,
A touching, fabricated plea:
‘Liberate us from ourselves;
Stay the child’s hand that delves.’
Turn the lights off, cut the phone,
Liberate your flesh from bone,
They will sell the tickets now
And please don’t ever question how
They came to be the ones in charge,
Important shadows do enlarge.
They can kick you off your tram,
Open, read your telegram,
Rights to remonstrate denied,
Down the waste disposal slide,
As the tanks go wobbling by
Ungainly weight which cracks the sky.
They believe in the things you do
But the foot must be in the other shoe,
The hand that slips in an iron glove
Must be certain to wave above
Adoring crowds, an appreciative roar
Following through a sound-proofed door.
They are still very much in play,
These pond scum rue and rule the day
And democracy now is a pantomime
Of real reform but somehow, never in time
To spare the rod or save the child
Nor stop that dissenter being exiled.
These types still miss kind Uncle Joe,
Who’d willingly destroy the world we know
And substitute a world of pain
Where all is certain: all is plain,
You could sum it up in a single line,
‘Nothing of yours cannot be mine’
They would stoop to the mean and crude,
And listen in, otherwise intrude
On the lives of the pure and the innocent,
Because they are insouciant:
And ignore those who might complain,
Or go missing in a ruined plane.
Patiently, ignore the world
And swat aside the insults hurled
Their way, pretending to distress,
Because they are quite conscienceless.
Because they are without remorse,
They smugly sit on their high horse.
They want the pomp of tsarism
Returned. They seize upon the schism
in confused and spineless western forces,
Abjuring roles and ordering courses,
To take a step, and then another;
By degrees, opponents smother.
No language but a Blahnik boot
Will suffice. They pine for the bland, hirsute
Corrupt nutter in the cream tunic,
Profiting from frauds at Yalta, Munich,
Wallowing in cowardice and hope,
Dangling, dissolving, soap-on-a-rope.
He surfaces in his mini sub
With fake amphorae, so to rub
The surface of our weak resistance,
Bowing before wolfish insistence
That might makes right
And shadows die, in the endless night.
The bland smooth face, the bald
Brain, finely-attuned to scold,
Not brooking dissent
Nor hearing a lament
For the truth that expires
In the Kremlin pyres.
Shaking their fists
They angrily insist
Neighbours know their place
And a punch in the face
Will remind them all
Who is walking tall.
Now it seems a girl,
Blue eyed, blonde of curl,
Born to a mum and dad
Who lost everything they had
Save for another chance,
Met at a country dance
A world away in time
And space, far from the crime
When barbaric obsession
Carved up real people’s land,
Dissection centrally planned.
The after-shadow of war
Falls not here, this land’s for
The dust of love and work.
Whether in sunshine or in murk
Whatever field it beautifies,
Here there’s no unasked surprise.
There’s drought and flooding rains
And in between one keeps the gains
Made along the way.
You can surely have your say
In the land where stops the buck,
The third-rate measure out their luck.