Brown poet as historical re-enactor

Beeston Castle, English Heritage event, 2023/1265

The castle is perched on a rocky sandstone crag
above a moat of weeds and shadow-fields of flint:
a subterranean memory-bank of history and hurt.

A banquet of burdock and wild boar is being served
to the fingertip-march of a minstrel’s plucked lute —
though I am stationed in the silt-flushed basin below.

Today I refuse the role of the slave for the soldier
to brandish a sword that cuts deeper than words;
a shield that protects more than any page could.

Granted a gambeson and a loose-sleeved shirt,
I billow between the growing crowds and cracks
of moss-flanked flagstones as light as a ghost.

I slip through the silkscreen membrane of time
and place as if each is a landscape, a phantosphere,
my silthood can not only traverse but transcend.

Chewing through the gristle of meat and millennia,
down to a skeletal truth, my skin maps with the silt
beneath my feet in a shared fretwork of stampede.

It can take years to adapt to the weight of armour:
unless a re-enactor is already more ballast than body
and has battled the weight of history since birth.