Monday, 15 June 2015

Magna Carta Libertatum

Today is the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta.

Last Friday I was a finalist with the Worcestershire Poet Laureate competition, which was won by the fabulous Heather Wastie.

It is worth noting, King John, the monarch who was forced to put his seal to the Great Charter of Liberties, is entombed in Worcester's cathedral.

I got through to the final with my poem, Magna Carta Libertatum, and it is perhaps appropriate today that I share it below.

Magna Carta Libertatum

Dear John,
You may not be remembered well,
For you were weak, ill-advised, greedy.
But you gave us all a gift,
For which we thank you.

Dear John,
Cowering, fearful of rebellion,
You came to Runnymede
And submitted to the Great Charter of Liberties,
Sealing your place in history.
The divine right of kings was no more.
They knew kings could concede.
In time, kings would bleed.
Largely now repealed,
Still powerful.

Dear John,
Do you know your Great Charter was the foundation of
So, so many great,
Yet somehow lesser,
Charters that followed?
The cornerstone of liberty, which spread to so many lands.
The American Constitution, a symbolic embodiment of freedoms,
Draws inspiration from the vellum and wax symbol of your downfall,
So small, yet bearing such weight.

Dear John,
We truly thank you for your gift,
Even though you did not want to give it.
In your final resting place
Within Severn’s sweet vale,
In Worcester’s hallowed cathedral,
Sleep well.