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published in Hidden Histories, University of Exeter, 2008;

and, Essential Journey,  Bardic Media Ltd,  2009.

ISBN 978-0-9550605-5-7


The Pity Of It

    Suggested by a 1915 Thomas Hardy poem of the same title


The spring sun speckles the grass

in a dell of wintry trees.

It could be anywhere in Europe.

It is Dorset. Smoke

from Thomas Hardyís wood-edge cottage

drifts beyond the beech trees.


It is Belgium. At Langemark

the sun-specks light the names

on flat black marble slabs.

German infantry lie sixteen deep,

cut down. Bare branches shield them.

The four dark watchers brood.


It is where our stories take us;

where Sigurd slew the dragon,

licked his blood-bespattered hand

and heard the wood-birdís words,

the burden understood, singing of

his folly in the gore of the speckled glade.



Barry Tempest


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