Wednesday, November 8, 2023

"Mercian Hymn I" by Geoffrey Hill


King  of  the  perennial holly-groves,  the  riven  sand-
      stone:  overlord  of  the  M5:   architect of  the his-
      toric  rampart and ditch,  the citadel at  Tamworth, 
      the summer hermitage in Holy Cross: guardian of 
      the Welsh Bridge and  the Iron Bridge:  contractor 
      to  the  desirable new estates:  saltmaster:  money-
      changer:  commissioner  for oaths:  martyrologist: 
      the friend of Charlemagne.

‘I liked that,’ said Offa, ‘sing it again.’

Source of the text - Geoffrey Hill, Mercian Hymns.  London: Andrew Deutcsch, 1971.

TJB: Trochaic, sprung, this naming-poem for the medieval warrior/builder king combines timeless, historical, & new, creating mythical space for Offa.

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