Requiem for the Plantagenet Kings

By Geoffrey Hill b. 1932 Geoffrey Hill
For whom the possessed sea littered, on both shores,   
Ruinous arms; being fired, and for good,
To sound the constitution of just wars,
Men, in their eloquent fashion, understood.

Relieved of soul, the dropping-back of dust,   
Their usage, pride, admitted within doors;
At home, under caved chantries, set in trust,   
With well-dressed alabaster and proved spurs   
They lie; they lie; secure in the decay
Of blood, blood-marks, crowns hacked and coveted,   
Before the scouring fires of trial-day
Alight on men; before sleeked groin, gored head,   
Budge through the clay and gravel, and the sea   
Across daubed rock evacuates its dead.

Geoffrey Hill, “Requiem for the Plantagenet Kings” from New and Collected Poems, 1952-1992. Copyright © 1994 by Geoffrey Hill. Used with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Source: New and Collected Poems 1952-1992 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1994)

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Poet Geoffrey Hill b. 1932

POET’S REGION England

Subjects War & Conflict, Nature, Living, History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Death, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Elegy

 Geoffrey  Hill

Biography

Geoffrey Hill was born in Worcestershire, England in 1932. From a working-class family, Hill attended Oxford where his work was first published by the poet Donald Hall. These poems later collected in For the Unfallen: Poems 1952-1958 (1959), marked an astonishing debut. In dense poems of gnarled syntax and astonishing rhetorical power, Hill planted the seeds of style and concern that he has continued to cultivate over his long . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT War & Conflict, Nature, Living, History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Death, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

POET’S REGION England

Poetic Terms Sonnet, Elegy

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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