The bleeding fields of Naseby

A land all consumed to satisfy the gluttony of Kings;

And stilled blood of brethren in tankards for his Court.

We fight for England to be free from this tyranny;

One soul to be truly damned, and Naseby his road to agony.

Heaven sent but wild of eye the steaming horse returned;

Stubborn lines cut down and blue boys scattered to the winds.

Aithon strikes across the field, the mist knitting with his tail;

Returning to the horizon, dragging rising souls to their ever after.

Broken ranks, our routed brothers standing in ragged bloodied azure;

Colours dropped and muddied, some torn and worn as bandages.

A rhythm of defeat beaten with the throwing down of weapons;

And then a rising shrill of carrion crows for the promised feast.

In the distance, a volley of musket fire, I espy a final defiant stand;

My Lord Halifax, his temper high and mercy low, makes quick their end.

I would follow him to hell without fear, indeed today I know this truth;

The death of a demonic King holds no trouble for my soul.

My breath has returned, and in my blood no longer do I feel the burn;

I lift my helmet, and cold winds are welcome across my burnished face.

I hear the chimes of battle, as sea in a shell, and the stink of death is my air;

As demons seek their final play on this wicked day.

The bleeding fields of Naseby are cleared of the dying but not the dead;

It is a Royal shame to see the poor in need of corpses to live.

But when you have seen killed men feasted by badger and fox;

The loss of a dulled blade, torn cloth and worn leathers, is no sin at all.

All the men I have known in life stood beside me in this field today;

To take comfort I look for familiar faces but none will be the same.

As victors we stand but we are scarred with iron and fear;

We are changed but is not all England?  Do not let this be in vain.


Shirley Collins: Sweet England



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