York in Poetry: One Anglaland

Posted on 24 November 2012 | Poem

We buried our gold in an oaken cask
To hide from the pillaging Dane
Then fled in hopes of recovering it;
We never saw treasure again.

We trudged our way southwards for five whole days
The Danes never far from behind
They were close enough we could hear the screams
Of those captured that they would blind.

We sought sanctuary in Eoferwic
Through Northumbrian moor and moss
And found in a church a Christian priest
Blood-eagled, alive on his cross.

The city no longer held surety
We heard from those fleeing who spoke;
But words were not needed as distantly
Ascended the stench and the smoke.

The Vikings had sailed up the Ouse that day
By crossing the seas of the East;
The townsfolk and thegns who’d resisted them
Were dining in Wael at Tiw’s feast.

The old gods it seems have abandoned us
The new God does not hear us pray
The Northmen are raiding in Mercia
And Wessex is too far away.

But even the Kingdom of Wessex quakes
It’s rumoured King Alfred is dead
Or hides in the levels like a shy girl
Or with fever lies on his bed.

We Saxons are fated to flee before
The scourge of the Danes burning brand
There is little hope for the Kingdoms here
Unless we are one Anglaland.

- John Coopey