Posted by: John Looker | 20 March, 2013



1. The Dawn Raid

and smoke is curling from rekindled fires.
Waves whisper on the shingle
and a silver mist lies sleeping on the sea.
Then the mist thickens – just there! –
and darkens to the dread prow of a longship
racing in on the rising tide

and suddenly there are men
splashing ashore,
shouting in foreign
and banging their broad blades brazenly
on their shields

and folk are fleeing far into the forest
(those who can) and leaving
their ploughs, their pots and provisions,
their livestock diligently fed and fattened,
and the harvest gathered home:
wheat for their bread, barley for brewing
and oats for winter forage –

all such a short carry
and no hurry
to that dark capacious boat.

© John Stevens 2013

This is the first of three complementary poems. Together, in “Tribal Loyalties”, they take their place as the third section in the series Looking at Life Through Work.

The three poems are best read together and I have turned off  ‘Comments’ until the third is posted, to spare those readers and friends who kindly comment regularly from feeling they owe me any reactions until the end.

This group of three poems is darker than those in sections 1 and 2 – a deliberate contrast.


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