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ALL FALL DOWN

Cyndi MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan - Premium MemberPremium Member Send Soup Mail Go to Poets Blog Block poet from commenting on your poetry

Below is the poem entitled ALL FALL DOWN which was written by poet Cyndi MacMillan. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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ALL FALL DOWN

				Ring around the rosie,
				A pocket full of posie,
				Ashes, ashes
				They all fall down.

___________________________________________


Petronilla, I be hight, after a saint, long dead;  
Pet, Mother clucks as Father growls, willful child,
for I fail to stifle questiuns at the wizened age              
of seven. Sooth, I miss Dorsetshire and London   
is verray vile. These wretched streets are full of sickness 
and corpses pile like fish on a dock, far from graves. 

My mind hosts the lost and shall e’er be graven
with their bynames, lite ghosts left behind, all dead.
These ears hold confessions wrung from the sickened,  
the curses of goodwives, the wails of stung children-
Ay, there be gruesome hymns sung by all Londoners,
strange lullabies, for e’en  newborns shall not age.

A twitching moon brings dreams o’ the sea, days aged
by tidepools as plovers ran from waves, so gravely. 
A hundred castles I built of sand, ech a London
tower; fey, too, were those woods filled with deadnettle
flowers.  Play and prattle, everich that be childisch
is done for rattles decayed in the fists of the sickly.

I was to be a man’r maid, but that household fell sick,
so we scrounge for crumbs ‘n ole curds, un-aged.
In sleep, Mother quakes as though taken to childbed,
while Father weeps of sons and sin, his thin face, grave,
It is a though the devil his-self reaps a bounty of dead
as pestilence creeps un’er the pocked doors of  London.
 
Ech flaxen brother saved from the muck of London,
tots all, bedridden, while I was unwemmed by sickness.
Aye, they were yet alive when we fled in the dead
o’ night;  six, four, three and one were their tender ages,
Wee mites passing, no kin to tuck ‘em into their graves,
hell stilled their ruckus, stole away ech marked child.

Comes, the massacre, comes, again, Childermas,
this plague is naught but the pied piper of London,
Mother and Father unbar the door, eyes like graves
as they forsake me, nay farewells said as minutes age.
See, though bled, I now wear rings o' red, I art sick,
rath, so rath, I shall join the pale line of the dead.

I shall bear no gravestone, certes, angels shall sicken,
as blessèd children fall all o’er black London,
forbeden to axe what ages the heart, leven it deadened...






* Certain words are (mis)spelled in middle English
**Please read my comments below




Middle English Translation

hight- called/named
Sooth- truly
Verray – true
Byname - nickname
Lite – Little
Ech – Each
Everich – every
Unwemmed –  undefiled 
Childbed- labour
Childermas- Dec 28th, a day to commerate the infants killed by King Herod
Certes - Certainly
Axe – ask
rath - soon

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  1. Date: 1/13/2014 10:15:00 PM
    EXCUSE CAPS: AS A FIRM LOVER OF ROMAN/ENGLISH HISTORY, I FOUND MYSELF READING THIS AMAZING WORK THREE TIMES. A WONDERFUL PIECE THAT COULD EASILY BE CONTRIBUTED TO A BRILLIANT WRITER OF YESTERDAY. HOW YOU ASSEMBLED THE WORDS AND TELL A TALE OF GENERATIONS DEEP THAT'S WORTHY OF A BOOK ALL ON ONE PAGE- MAKES ME FEEL LIFE, VALUE LIFE AND BELIEVE MANKIND NEEDS TO LOOK AT ITSELF. THANKYOU FOR THIS & YOUR COMMENTS. ROCK SCARFONE GOLDSMITHWORKS

  1. Date: 6/1/2013 5:25:00 PM
    Congrats on your great win..You went to great lenghts to do this one..Way to go..Sara

  1. Date: 6/1/2013 5:44:00 AM
    Always, always you amaze. Thanks so much for all your work and help. Light & Love

  1. Date: 6/1/2013 3:33:00 AM
    Congratulations Cyndi xx

  1. Date: 5/31/2013 7:58:00 PM
    Cyndi, excellent voice and historical work in this wonderful poem. Congratulations on your win!

  1. Date: 5/31/2013 4:54:00 PM
    Cyndi, big congrats on your deserved win. xx

  1. Date: 5/31/2013 9:45:00 AM
    You really rock with this outstanding write! A well deseverd reward you've got. Big congrats to you on your superb win. AO

  1. Date: 5/31/2013 9:13:00 AM
    What can I say??? No poem for this contest could compare to this masterpiece.........and Debbie must have been swelling with admiration, applause and pride that you wrote this for her challenge..........OVER THE TOP ! Congratulations seems too lame a word!!

  1. Date: 5/31/2013 8:58:00 AM
    Congratulations on your 1st place win, you won my heart with this one Cyndi xxxx

  1. Date: 5/31/2013 7:59:00 AM
    The best writing I've read in a while. Hats off to you for relaying the story of the plague so eloquently and in a different lingo, to boot. Your linguistic skills impress. Licia :-)

  1. Date: 5/31/2013 7:56:00 AM
    WOW. I'm blown away, Cyndi! Congrats!

  1. Date: 5/31/2013 7:37:00 AM
    Well expressed, congratulations. I like the added translations.

  1. Date: 5/31/2013 6:25:00 AM
    I am stunned and speechless...This is a violently beautiful piece of work...Ironic that a child's nursery rhyme came as a result of the plague...Congratulations - Tim

  1. Date: 5/27/2013 9:22:00 AM
    Dearest Cyndi, You are so humbling to this hopeful scribe. This is a write that proves that sestina need not be tedious repetition and that in, at least, your hands it is not only safe from boring but like a Dickens story, wishing it to continue in its historical magic.

  1. Date: 5/25/2013 6:12:00 PM
    Ole english scribe is back!...so epic, cyn...the angle details a period in time when bodies just fall from some kind of epidemic, and you manage to magnify the essence of grief without overstating the entire mood of the setting... what a defining pieces as ' I shall bear no gravestone, certes, angels shall sicken..' a poetic breakthrough!..:) huggs

  1. Date: 5/23/2013 8:06:00 AM
    This was a magnificent read. It had me hooked. The unique verbiage was strongly utilized here. Very, very well done!

  1. Date: 5/22/2013 8:36:00 PM
    The black death, the plague, reached England in 1348 in Dorsetshire. By 1350, the population of London dropped from 70,000 to 30,000. In two years the plague killed approximately 200 million people. Parents would abandon their dying children. Food became scarce. The symptoms of the plague included headaches, chills, fever, red buboes. People died within 3 days of the onset. I was striving to use JUST enough middle English to make this poem sound authentic but keeping the reader WITH ME, a hard line to straddle. I tried to keep most end words of that era.