National Trust Poem by Tony Harrison

National Trust

Rating: 2.9


Bottomless pits. There's on in Castleton,
and stout upholders of our law and order
one day thought its depth worth wagering on
and borrowed a convict hush-hush from his warder
and winched him down; and back, flayed, grey, mad, dumb.

Not even a good flogging made him holler!

O gentlemen, a better way to plumb
the depths of Britain's dangling a scholar,
say, here at the booming shaft at Towanroath,
now National Trust, a place where they got tin,
those gentlemen who silenced the men's oath
and killed the language that they swore it in.

The dumb go down in history and disappear
and not one gentleman's been brough to book:

Mes den hep tavas a-gollas y dyr

(Cornish-)
'the tongueless man gets his land took.'

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Michael Shepherd 15 October 2005

Webmaster: check spelling in lines 1 and 14 please

6 10 Reply
M Asim Nehal 23 February 2016

Nice poem, thanks for sharing...

11 4 Reply
Savita Tyagi 23 February 2016

Toungless man gets his land took. So true.

7 3 Reply
Edward Kofi Louis 23 February 2016

But to learn first. Thanks for sharing.

3 1 Reply
Sachidananda Panda 14 July 2020

" The dumb go down in history and disappear and not one gentleman's been brought to book..." This is realistic and most beatifully expressed to match the theme line of the poem... loved it... Thanks

1 0 Reply
Raynolds Moseamedi 03 September 2018

What a beautiful poem, I love it, thank you for sharing.

3 2 Reply
Bernard F. Asuncion 19 January 2018

Such an interesting poem by Tony Harrison??????

5 5 Reply
Glen Kappy 19 January 2018

In the first line, it looks like it should be one not on. As to the content of the poem, we learn one more time it wasn’t only Nazis who did deplorable and inhumane experiments on people and that the haves get away with crimes on the have-nots. Here in America, if it’s on or near the places of the poor, sure, let’s do our dumping there. But never get near the tended gardens or the houses of the rich. -GK

2 4 Reply
Deepak Kumar Pattanayak 19 January 2018

Tussle between the custodian and the culprit magnificently portrayed in this poem.........outstanding........ thanks for sharing

1 0 Reply
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