Bottesford Market Cross

Stand beneath the market cross

By Sue Mackrell, 2007

Late Victorian children sitting on the steps of the Market Cross, Bottesford: a faded sepia print enhanced digitally | Contributed by Mr Mike Saunders
Late Victorian children sitting on the steps of the Market Cross, Bottesford: a faded sepia print enhanced digitally
Contributed by Mr Mike Saunders

Stand beneath the market cross,
Sense resonances
Imprinted on the atmosphere,
A Michaelmas Fair,
Scents of cinnamon and apples,
Red ribbons for a sweetheart,
Sweetmeats for a child,
A fiddler plays a jig while
Deals are done over jugs of ale
Servants hired, bargains made,
And bets are laid.

Shrove Tuesday revels,
A boisterous ball game
Ending, some say, in tragedy,
For a Fair Maid of Normanton
Laid in the graveyard.

And the rattle of a plague cart,
Rolling through deserted streets,
Carrying corpses of the Black Death.

A witch whipped, screaming,
Through streets echoing
With the howling cacophony
Of a barbaric rabble,
A thief in the stocks, pelted
With stones and stinking horse dung.

And under your feet feel
Reverberations of wars,
Heavy footsteps, knocking on a door,
A telegram, a son dead on the Somme.

The throb of a returning Lancaster,
Dull thud of exploding bombs.

Whisper names unspoken here for centuries,
Thomas Gentil, Moses Calvert,
Emma Aennycourt, Alice Bele,

Listen as their names hang in the air.

This page was added on 19/09/2007.

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