Liam Guilar's 'Two stories from Bede'

These poems are from ‘A Presentment of Englishry’ (Shearsman Books, 2019) where they form the first of two ‘interludes’ between the three major narratives in the book.

Bede’s ‘Ecclesiastical History of the English People’ was written in 731 AD.

Story One: Recovering Oswald’s Relics.

Oswald, King of Northumbria was defeated by Penda of Mercia in 642. Oswald’s body was dismembered and his head and limbs displayed on stakes. A year later, Oswald’s brother and successor, Oswiu, lead what modern media would describe as a ‘daring raid deep behind enemy lines’ to recover his brother’s head, hand and arm. The story about the raven is told by Reginald of Durham in the twelfth century.

I am intrigued by the reality of this story, hence the poem.

Story Two. The Death fo King Sigbert of East Anglia

The details of Sigbert’s story are basically as told by Bede. He was another of Penda’s victims. Or of his upbringing. Or circumstance. How much choice do you have?

Liam Guilar's 'Prologue to the stories of Vortigern'

It’s the week the podcast turns fifty, so something unusual to celebrate. This is from ‘work in progress’. I needed to hear how it sounded.

A Presentment of Englishry (Shearsman 2019) ends in the ruin of Roman Britain and points forwards to the story of Vortigern, Hengist and Rowena.

I’m currently working on that story. The ‘historical background’ is set out on under ‘The Legendary History’.

This Prologue is set in Britain in the mid sixth century. A small group of survivors are fleeing west and north. They seek shelter from a storm in a ruined villa, where they find a solitary old man living in the rubble.

To pass the time, they tell a story. It’s a familiar one; the story of Vortigern. It’s so well known everyone contributes. The old man claims he was a participant. No one believes him.

This prologue, if it’s ever finished, will provide a narrative overview which will be contested, confirmed or denied by the story that follows it.

A ‘Latimer’ was a translator. Vortigern’s translator was called Keredic.

Liam Guilar's 'Lute Recitals'

The Poetry Voice is fifty! And here is something different to celebrate.

This poem was inspired by a contrast; Allan Alexander’s ‘Castles In the Sky’, a Cd that alterted me to the pleasures of the lute, and a bizarre conversation with a lutenist, who derided ‘Castles in the Sky’ for not being ‘Authentic’. Apparently everything has to be ‘authentic’. I started wondering what an authentic Dowland performance would have been like.

The music i’m playing in the background is Allan’s ‘Dance of the Washerwoman’….his guitar arrangement of a Renaissance lute piece.

‘Lute Recitals’ first appeared in the journal 'Southerly' and then in my book, "I'll Howl before you bury me'.