Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Bordeaux Bay by Guernsey-based artist Tony Taylor

Saturday, 15 October 2016


This October is the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings and, across England, commemorations and reenactments of the event will be taking place this weekend and throughout the following week.
An ideal opportunity, then, to publish this poem.


An aspen in a Norman wood
supplied the shaft.
A craftsman’s patience
straightened, seasoned,
then perfected
something far removed from nature,
shaped the taper, sealed it,
gently carved the narrow nock.
Fingers, that might pluck a lute
on fair-days, set to fletching:
grey-goose feathers, 
resin gum,
fine thread of linen.
These would aid trajectory,
ensure the trueness of its flight.
Lastly, a hand affixed with care
the arrowhead, the killing-piece,
into a kind of bird-wing-shape
with pointed beak, as lethal as a battle-sword.

It would be one of many
that French archers took to English soil
to fly in flocks like starlings
over Hastings fields
and fall to earth like iron rain,
out of a grey October sky,
to pierce the fearful blue of Harold’s eye.


  1. I have enjoyed reading this piece, especially after listening to your reading of this poem at the last open mic evening. Certainly conjours an image of darkening skies with the onslaught of arrows.

  2. Thanks Julian. Your comments are always welcome. It never ceases to fascinate me how history-changing events can evolve from some small, seemingly insignificant thing.