Father Lear

Father Lear the king so shaped his bairns
with the wand’s upper hand
the fire’s swanny wing
smooth tippet of the spider

In the very kingdom of herbs and servants
he shaped them
from peace vessels of the animals
from toil of the flesh
from milk horses and the birds of sighed mercy
and the tongue undone

He shaped his bairns
in night’s long harm and in day’s bright psalter
in the seven courts of the north
and with the mild birch of the paternoster

From his ploughing fields and his sweat
his toothèd heart and his waxing wit
Father Lear the king shaped his bairns
for good or ill           this he did

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