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Hymn to King Penda


bent in two, your crooked crown
speaks of distance between
land and sky
of Mercia burning alive
drummed by the feet of Saxons
who proclaimed a different name
beat you with that one true God
unfamiliar to a heathen tongue

and so, I think of you fondly
as I sit beneath a tree in England
your bones quaking in familiar mud
tangled with tree roots, those boggy oaks
that rot slowly—

life becoming death
    death becoming eternity

and I note the gold cross
they branded you with
becomes sand running
through open hands

you died a Pagan
returning to Earth

the way of these
ancient lands


Written by Northern_Soul (-Missy-)
Published
Author's Note
Letters to the Old Ways
24/30

King Penda, the last Pagan king of England who was born in 606 AD was said to be a brutal warmonger who turned Mercia from a largely irrelevant tract of middle England into the most powerful kingdom in the land. Much of his life is shrouded in mystery yet he remains a central figure in English history.
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