Pogrom – Clifford’s Tower, York – by Char March


Thon driftin’ ’aze of roast pork, I tell thee,
it meks me paunch talk. A single ’ot pie since daybreak,
an’ nowt since – through all thon ’ectic trammellin’
up an’ down’t cobbled ginnels. I allus knowed
as ’ow them weren’t true men – snufflin’ like sows.
But their women! Gods didn’t they screech an’ ’owl!

See? One of them even bit us! An’ run! I’d allus ’eard
they was that fat as ’ow them could ’ardly waddle.
An’ then this gurt long wait after all’t fun. Wi’ me belly
growlin’ an’ carryin’ on. An’ bloody crowd swellin’ like a boil.
All’t sweat done by us few. I just want a bit of summat
for me trouble – for doin’ me civic duty.

But there were nowt there. Paintin’s, posh tapestries,
but bugger all tha’d want. We’d ’eard their cellars
was groanin’ wi’ gold, secret siller, an’ rubies big
as noses. Likely! Nivver even a kindly cask of ale.
They must ’ave tekken it wi’ ’em, an’ The Good Lord knows
as ’ow tha can’t do that – specially not them lot.

I loved t’tower all lit an’ belchin’.
A ’uge chimbley – all leapin’ flame. All a-spit
an’ a-crackle wi’ their fat bones.
Uuuuuurp! Oh – pardon me. It’s me belly.
Nivver right wi’ nowt in it. An’ all on us below,
a sea of Ooooooos! an’ Ahhhhhhs! Flickerin’ ’ot faces.

All grinnin’ up at t’shafts of sparks an’ thon grand smell.
By, I could murder a pie. Tha’d think as ’ow
some bugger’d ’ave nous to come round all on us
wi’ some pies, some grog, summat – city of bloody merchants!
For none on us’ll move, not till it’s cooled enough
to get near wi’ rakes an’ sieves an’ bare bloody ’ands!

Sift thro’ their ashes, ferret out all’t fused coin, all’t
gobs of gold an’ globs of bracelets what they’ve thieved off us.
Money-grubbin’ ’eathen. Ouf! We’re off!
By, it’s a gradely press – canst smell our goodly sweat?
’Ere! Thon bastard tower is still ’urling red-’ot
boulders down on us – whose bloody side is it on?



Poet, Playwright, Fiction Writer, Tutor and Creative Coach
Char March