A Dream of Langland

by M.E. Rose

Mist over Malvern hills, a death cloud drowning in the sun,
A shifting uncertain season, a truth tower toppling.
Hob, harrowing his heart out, certain of nothing but hunger.

A long lean man, a patched man, a godsboy dreamer,
Shivering and babbling by a brook in winter,
Anguish of injustice flowing from his frozen fingers,

He, pulling forth poet’s power, whistled up Piers;
Out of a poor man’s poke he came, the great Plowman,
Four gospel horses leaning on a brink of sky.

Piers shoved with his shoulders. His meek and terrible team
Breasting against power, against pomp of probability,
Bore all before them. Earth broke. The ravaging joy,

The life-death thrust of the plowshare upturned all:
Holy unholy church, gorged rich, flint-hearted righteous,
The palace of heaven unpierced by a poor man’s prayer.

Peasants following the plowshare, famished, ragged as rooks,
Cried kill, cried pitchfork vengeance. The godsboy wanders and weeps.
His poet’s dream of love is dung on the waiting field.