Mock Battle

09.Arundel (35)


When Normans fought
As Normans did
Upon their mighty battlefields
When once upon a medieval time
Warriors vied in combat
Life was hard
Was short
Was brutal
Living was for the nearly dead
And death was bones amongst the grass

Now we are pleased to read our books
Our Idylls
To watch staged tourneys
Of legend
of honour
and Medieval Romance
With little sense of cut and thrust
of jab and slash
of block and parry
a jousting game
bereft of passion
foam-tipped swords
and rubber blades
plywood shields
and plastic helms

men of steel
of acrid smoke
and blood-red trenches
barbed wire and bursting shells
we might know how you felt
on the fields of Passchendaele
the trenches of Mons

Verdun and Arras
The beaches of Dunkirk and Guam

If only we
And these toy soldiers
Shared the hurt
And owned the blame
Of those who gave
Their all for victory

09.Arundel (49)


09.Arundel (48)

The photographs were taken by me during a mock medieval battle display by modern-day enthusiasts of the period.  This was presented on the top of the giant keep of Arundel Castle, West Sussex, on my recent visit there in October.



8 thoughts on “Mock Battle

  1. A very powerful and poignant poem Roland and the last verse leaves a lot to think about. Be careful with the snow, amounts like this have been known to bring London to a standstill.

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  2. Your poem is strong and beautifully written. Sad reflection on mankind and the constant desire to fight. I am impressed with how you take us from the Norman battles to Second World War in one sweeping poem. Superb.

    As to mock battles we have these enactments in Castle Hedingham castle only 2 miles from me. It is very popular in summer and the Keep serves refreshments at long tables. It has quite a history I found now on Wikipedia.😊 .
    You sure have a lot of old history preserved in England. Rightly so.
    Thanks Roland

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