Photographs from the 370th Anniversary of the Battle of Naseby
Colonel Okey’s Ambush
They had skirted the hedge, looking all the time for the softest path
free from betraying twigs. Somewhere a horse
whickered at silence, the smell of it
and there suddenly
the others, standing twenty breaths’ distance.
The moment rounds, grows pendulous,
a water bead
hung on the grass that fringes them, as yet untrampled -
yards away, one lad yawns,
another tosses ribaldries, unsure of how to fill an instant
both eternal and long lost (not knowing they’re already dead
as fate and earth can will it – as all flesh is dead at birth)
who must set the cogs in motion, pauses
a kestrel that mounts air’s summit without diving,
wary of the still field he must break
to draw blood
and make home.
He cocks his musket, one eye closes;
all creation hackles, that last instant, at the catch
of metal brushing back upon itself, gathered to spring.
There will be no undoing
the spark that follows.
BY CLARE MULLEY