Chessman, Warrior, King

Necklaced from Norway to Dublin

your kingship carves into oceans

combs ivory fingered coastlines

catches the last sigh of departing tides


sinew, bone and carcass

intricate adornment,


exquisite ornament

for majestic halls.


Summer led pilgrimages of

acquisition fill wooden carts:


fine linen, beads and jewels.

Your sons, unwritten sagas


bore and frustrate you: tamed,

Thor-twisted, a more malleable shape;


counselled by Knight and Bishop.

Coiled dragon at your back


sword clasped on your lap

you dominate the seaboard,


recoil from civilisation,

long for freedom to conquer,


plunder, fight assimilation,

sing songs of ancestral anarchy.


[Mairi Murphy]

Image courtesy of Aike Jansen

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