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R. S. Williams

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Member Since: Aug, 2006

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Barnet, 1471
by R. S. Williams
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Rated "PG" by the Author.
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This is a poem I wrote the other day. It is meant to be an eyewitness’s account of the first stages of the battle of Barnet in 1471. A battle fought during the Wars of the Roses between the Lancastrian Earl of Warwick, known as ‘Kingmaker’ and the Yorkists, Edward IV, Lord Hastings and the Duke of Gloucester. The battle was fought in a dense fog that ultimately was as much to blame for Kingmaker’s defeat as Edward was… This is my first poem of this sort, so please bear with me. If you have to criticize, constructive criticism only!



My Earl of Warwick’s cannon fire throughout the [night,
Keeping all but the hardiest from sleep.
Amongst these are scarred old veterans of France,
Heroes who fought the Maid of Orleans, and lived.

The rest of us sit in huddled groups
Close-by the many dwindling fires,
Reddening the swirling fog
Like bloodstains on a woollen shift.

As dawn’s first light pierces the fog’s dense walls
The sergeants stir and give a call-to-arms.
The dormant jolt awake with fright
And hurriedly pick up bill and sword.

Beneath the many hundreds of banners and pennants,
Who seemingly float in the fog like a fleet of [coloured ships,
The Captains assemble the men in their thousands,
Preparing them for the onslaught, through the mist.

begins with the thunderous booms and cracks [of guns along our line,
Followed by a volley of white tailed arrows into the [obscuring fog.
Blink and they are gone,

No dying screams are heard
And no arrows fall amongst our ranks,
Just an eerie silence, only broken by a distant calling [trumpet.

Our challenge unanswered we advance through the fog [of Hadley Green,
This mist of nothingness,
Where Hastings’s men remain unseen.
The Unknown amplifies our fear.
Then far, far to the left we hear,
A host of shouting jeering men,
And a sound like an army of blacksmiths
Hammering. Battle has been joined.

We press on towards the deafening din
And are met,
By charging, screaming shapes
Amongst the mist,
Where on Easter Sunday, blood was spilt.

At Barnet Field


Copyright © R.S. Williams  


My wars of the roses website

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Reviewed by Alan Cook 11/21/2008
Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat its mistakes--and not relive its triumphs. Poetry is a good way to remember history, and this poem takes us into the hearts and minds of the people who lived it.
Reviewed by Poetess of The Soul Sheila G 9/1/2006
Wow, how old are you? YOu seem to have the mind, thoughts and feelings of a fighter of wars. I know, your a teacher and studied alot of it, to share it this way. I am totally and utterly feeling defeated in this realm of poetry. I learned something here, alot! I am impressed, must forge on and read more of this boy wonder... - YOU - your eye for detail I find quite interesting! Your deep and intense in thought, I am noticing through the use of your pen, you write wise with! Warmly, *She*
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 8/29/2006
Nicely done. Thank you for sharing this poetic historical account. Love and peace to you,

Reviewed by Paul Williams 8/28/2006
Top Notch, got it off to a tee, you evoke the atomsphere well. One of the main protaganists for the whole sheebang (Richard Duke of York) was born just up the road from here (10 mins away) Coinisborough Castle.

Reviewed by Ronald Hull 8/27/2006
Very descriptive. I write historical fiction. It is difficult, from our perspective, to portray what actually happened. Often, handwritten accounts from those present at the time portray far more realistically than rehashed 21st century renditions legend.

Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 8/27/2006
Outstanding write...kudu's to you!!

You and Paul Williams here on AD are birds of a will love his visit his site I am sure you two have alot in common!!

Love Tinka
Reviewed by R. S. Williams 8/27/2006
Well, Sandie, thanks for your kind words. I must point out however that the painting isn't mine! It's by an English artist called Graham Turner.
Reviewed by Sandie Angel 8/27/2006
Wonderful write! I like the imagery and the atmosphere you have created in this poem. I love that picture of the knights in armour! Wonderful job on both!

Sandie May Angel a.k.a. Sandie Angel :o)
Reviewed by Nicky Goodman 8/27/2006
I'm a Barnet bod! Enjoyed! - here: Barnet open poetry competition, judge Fleur Adcock (35 lines max though)
Reviewed by Ed Matlack 8/27/2006
You sound to be a reincarnated knight or warrior...must read more...Ed & Rufuz (W00F)
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