I was Lord of a country no one cared for.
The Queen fucked men for money, and
the King dug graves. At luncheon, he played
Death with his favourite courtiers,
kissing them once on the forehead
and then declaring them knaves – he buried them
living. Nobody cared. A good King kills one man
for each that he saves, and besides,
they were not our men.
They say this earth remembers.
They say the soil cries out in protest, and
that this is why it is fallow. For years, we ate
dirt for dinner, dirt for afters, dirt
for five dirt cheap drunken courses, whilst the people fled
like rats from disaster – they left us with
curses. I hardly noticed. The people may go
from the Land That Won’t Grow – a Lord is a Lord
whether he has subjects or no, and besides,
I was not the sort of man
to give up a castle.
(When he buried me I swallowed my dry earth
Words by Katie Dent. Artwork by Sophie Kuang.