Brunanburgh - also Britain's forgotten battle.
Brunanburgh 23rd September 937
From out the North they came in thousands.
The Viking and the Gael, the Wealas and the Pict.
The came on wild sea and over silent land to York and Humber,
By Bishops invitation.
Only Edward's forts made them think they might not easy pass into Mercia,
Sheffield, Wincobank, Brunanburgh, Conisborough and Doncaster.
They chose by Brunanburgh to cross the silent Don,
By our legacy of the Romans.
With all vanity they had cast words about to trumpet their passage,
As if none but their friends did listen with keen ears.
Mighty Athelstan, and we his men, met them there on slaughter fields.
Long awaited was their coming,
And we had practised well with spear and sword.
The vanity of kings can be great when men lack fire,
But we needed no barrel of ale to bring us courage.
We stood behind our shields on that dark September day,
Shoulder to shoulder in a long and prickly hedge,
And did in earnest our work, making widows and orphans.
Long nights their wailing was surely heard,
Cursing Anlaf, Owain, Constantine and his dead sons.
We smiled for a season or two,
Waiting to hear the wolf's next call,
And practised with the sword.
David Anson June 2011