Part 1, V (from The Kentish Rebellion)

That day, seated beside his father,
……….Deputy Lieutenant of the Tower,
………………..doubt’s little white dove flew into Dering’s heart;
…………………………transposed into his boy heart from the vaults
………………………………….above, where the voices of eight choirs met,

choirs voicing in waves of different depth
……….then simultaneously, the motet’s
………………..pervasion resonating in his chest,
…………………………his bowels; pure white voices of light splitting
………………………………….the abbey, speaking to God, speaking for him,

mere boy, and everyone on earth, cleansing all,
……….so that he feels he loves all, and God present
………………..in the very voices upraised in praise to Him,
…………………………in his father, next to him, whom now he loves;
………………………………….in the boy Duke newly-seated at his own father

the King’s right, precocious Prince, hope of a nation
……….kneeled and offering this contrafactum
………………..of well-wishes, enigmatic Latin
…………………………overlaid with trusty vernacular:
………………………………….Harry, live in thy creation happy.

Dering in the pew, in a sweat: something is come
……….between him and the Almighty – the song
………………..of a mortal, sung by boys – and not inhibiting
…………………………but conducting their communion. Words,
………………………………….meaningless. Hallelujah in the abstruse.

Under a torn roof, literality blown loose.
……….And doubt’s little white dove, nestling in his heart
………………..to peck there since, harder in these song-less days
…………………………when all that was once sacramental
………………………………….is sacrilegious, and Harry, a nation’s

hope then, no more than a pariah’s predeceased
……….brother now, coronation regalia plundered,
………………..the God-voiced boys whipped out to the plough,
…………………………the choir stalls smashed, the decorated windows
………………………………….into men’s souls re-glazed bare, pellucid.

Robert Selby

Robert Selby

Robert Selby lives in Kent in the United Kingdom. He was highly commended in the Faber New Poets scheme and his debut collection, The Coming-Down Time, was published by Shoestring Press in 2020. The Kentish Rebellion, a book-length sequence set during the English Civil War, is forthcoming in summer 2022.
Robert Selby

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Author: Robert Selby

Robert Selby lives in Kent in the United Kingdom. He was highly commended in the Faber New Poets scheme and his debut collection, The Coming-Down Time, was published by Shoestring Press in 2020. The Kentish Rebellion, a book-length sequence set during the English Civil War, is forthcoming in summer 2022.