henry on the cobble
of a village in chester
stone from the churn valley
where we used to fear to go
churn is deep and high and
you get tired and hurt from
climbing to its easy point
creatures lived in this valley
long after the ancient britons
destroyed all the others
fierce and intelligent
they made the explorers die
over generations until one
son grew with rage at his
missing father and gathered a band
surprise gained and the fire consumed all
but the strange polished round stones
of their walls
picks and barrows and a hundred years
of forgetting bring the stones
to the alley next to stouse’s
where orald now begs
sprawled across stones from the wall
of the house where stem of churn
beheld his firstborn with
loving father eyes
orald knew neither mother nor father
his mother having perished early
in the famine of ’63
and his father struck dead
during a teenaged battle in the alley
by a rival throwing polished round stones
orald’s right buttock now covers
the weapon that stuck the fatal blow
blood-stained still and silent
like the churn valley

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