King Harold can not say droit de seigneur,
he will have to wait for William for that term,
but by then he will not need it anyway.
‘I will put up with you,’ his Fayre Queene said,
‘so long as you but serve volley peasant wenches,
but, turn a page, or try it on the livestock
and you’re out on your Wessex, king or not.’
Wincing while his wife applied the woad,
Harold, turning blue, faced up to day.
His knights and troopers worried him. They should:
they were a melting pot, a mishmash of all sorts
who sort themselves in what had been pure Britain.
It was not just the Saxons in the South,
the Angles in the East and bloody Wessex
with its self-proclaimed West Saxons, Harold mused.
The ancient Cantii calling their turf ‘Kent’
were taking sites away from Southwest Saxons,
who did the same to Brits along the Tamar,
and Mercians in the Midlands — a messy mixture
of Druid huggers, Saxons and Olde Brits.
He shook his head and shivered in the cold,
lay back and thought of Angleland and moaned.
There are places, Harold thought, where I’m said to rule
that I would not want to visit on a bet:
Northumbria, and rugged Denelaw —
for centuries Scandinavian to boot
and Danish long before brave King Canute
made waves there. They’re less Christian than my cat.
Pretenders! Old Religion. Odin. Thor!
Allegiance pledged to me, the king of London’s scent?
Would they adhere to me had I a pant,
the kind one wears? Two Nations! Maybe pants?
Earls Edwin (of Northumbria) and Macar
(of Mercia) ignore me. We’ll be conquered.
Or conkered: we play war on playing fields
that successors may surround with public schools.
I’m fighting William with but half an army,
that half that’s naked, blue, and largely barmy.