The great Bailey wall
keeps the outside out.

Inside, the silence settles
like sediment in a pool.

But there are sounds
that do not disturb the dust
and images
that bend no light waves.
A timeless, parallel world
littered with the jetsam of Time.

In the Keep
upon its mound,
orphans of Nothing
can be found
in its empty, castellated,
stonework crown.

In the Gatehouse, it is 1363.
The Black Prince
stares into the Court Room fire
remembering Poitiers and Jean de France.

Below, through the portcullis,
white doves wheel silently,
watched by two buzzards
in the ilex tree.

Among crumbling walls and doorways
and archers’ windows,
broken images of a millennium
jostle and tumble;
a pack of cards from Alice in Wonderland,
blown and jumbled
like autumn leaves
in clashing winds.

The dogs chase, tirelessly,
ever renewed and changing scents
of badger, fox, vole and rat;
then stop and quiver.
There, by the dark shadows of the Sally Gate,
Sir Richard Grenville meets his fate.
And a housemaid hangs herself
for allowing new life to take root in her.

Who is it all for,
this agitation of mind and hand,
this accumulation of stones
and dismemberment of the works of man?
Who are the inheritors
that stand as witnesses to all this?

One old man.
And two dogs.


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