Background

York in Poetry: Clifford's Tower - 1190

Posted on 24 November 2012 | Poem

For nine hundred years we’ve turned our faces
From wretched York – the gesture marks its shame,
Revealing its greatest of disgraces.

The city no longer now embraces
Its son of York – Malebrisse was his name;
The citizens of York turn their faces.

He urged them baying with swords and maces,
A screaming mob intent to kill and maim
The brethren – the direst of disgraces.

Unique among other English places
Approached on foot, on horseback, or by train,
For nine hundred years we’ve turned our faces.

The tower stands where a small child races
And innocently plays their timeless game
Sheltered from this darkest of disgraces.

We cheated murder through Jove’s good graces
But chose to die on sword-tip and by flame;
For nine hundred years we’ve turned our faces
Away from York’s greatest of disgraces.

- John Coopey