A poem by SIAN ASHK O’SHEA.
The queen’s enmity burns with the fires of centuries;
Her braze-shade hair blazes behind her
As the city burns, collapses to dust before her feet.
Reflecting the leaping vengeance in her eyes-
Her pupils blown, bottomless with adrenal anger-
Her fury is mirrored in the flames, the heat.
Fingers of smoke lick through her army,
Mounted on horseback: restless men
With broken gazes, their faces darkened by ash
And by fear of a life not worth being alive to see;
Alongside their sisters and wives, these women
With icy hearts and fiery eyes, united in wrath,
Full of rebellion against a torture so revolting
That their ears are still full of broken screams,
Clattering with ghosts of cracking cries.
The queen’s rage for her daughters is halting-
Storms of ire swirled through her dreams
Twisting them into nightmares of a failure she despises-
Their pain becomes her revenge, searing her heart.
She uses it to armour her pride in red hot iron;
Her bones become metal, her spirit steel valour
Against the torture that will not again tear her apart.
She buries her pain in courage and in soot-clad fire
And brings these tribes together with golden candor.
Her wounds are ashen, gaping, chasms in her flesh-
Stark badges that she and they will not yet be oppressed.
“Iceni! Trinovantes!” she yells. “I am your Queen!”
Cheers fill the crevices between smoky plumes.
“Watch Londinium burn, as we rise again!”