3&4 - 1976/77
Luckless one, Leicester's wife. Did you trip on the stairs,
misery-blind, or did some paid hand push you?
You secrete a sweet tuberous root. And George Melly
could gather all the nuts he wants in you.
Dutchman from Groot who became a Scottish landowner.
Much declined in a song.
Son of thunder.
You went west over sea, and fell out with your fellows; so
went on west and did a great publicity job on Greenland.
You swell, little by little. In you a source of sustenance,
second to none, for millions.
A good name for an Amazon, or Grendel's mother: battle-
Not a bit of it. Your name is redolent of moon-faced poets
summoning loved ones into dark gardens, rustle of crino-
lines, the baritone with the fruity voice standing by the
You swept Stephen and the Swagman into your dance.
Reckless self-conqueror, who lost the world for love.
Often enough you drop an aitch. You're a reckling.
Desert father, reckoned to be the first monastic. Lord of
unlikely places: pig sties and lost property offices.
Sky-blue forget-me-not and love-in-a-mist that's violet; then
old man's beard, silver and grey; rose, rose; white for the
These are your initials, a corner of your petalled kingdom.
A very strange fish: a kind of mini-cod.
Whose pregnant mother dreamed of a dog-son (not a godson)
with black and white spots, firing the world with a flame.
The Lord's own.
'My sweet girl . . . '
In you a spread of feathers and another name; an old-fashioned
negative and a fairy.
Diminutive of the lady from Rimini.
Eider ducks kept you company, and keep your memory.
Genius of the two great fists at Durham, of Great Farne and
Lindisfarne and the girdling flint-grey water. Becket of the
You embody truth.
I'd have guessed some brownish, Brobdingnagian growth.
White breast, white breast, all points west from Chester, Glou-
cester and Shrewsbury.
Link between a King of Cornwall and Samuel L. Clemens.
You score both skin and silver. Men mint you in nickel.
Did you run naked from Gethsemane? As your city sinks, you
record the rising of an everlasting city.
Leader of eleven thousand, all of them virgins, massacred on
sight by the Huns. There's a likely story.
Pattern of stars, with an elder sister.
To sham, to be sceptical, these are your attributes.
But you're half the man you are when it's time for the M.O.T.
It has you in a dither and an awful didymus.
Henry and Richard, they're your blood brothers, under-ones,
men of the streets.
Traveller from Denmark, settler in France, cause of a song and
dance in Sicily.
Roman of the north, beginning where you end, like the Mid-
gard serpent encircling the earth, biting its own tail.
In you a norn, shaper of was or is or will be, sitting under the
Member of the Order of Merit and the Irish Republican Army.
Fate governing men and godlike men and the gods themselves;
inescapable and ineluctable from the Stygian depths to the
scree of high Olympus.
One made laws, four fell into two parts and seven introduced
a new line.
Beanz meanz heinz; heinz means you.
Your chief defect, chewing little bits of string.
a brace of indefinite articles.
an anagrammatic giant panda.
a four-letter word and a palindrome.
A great man.
Hacked down by the war-wolves; your skull cloven with an
axe, and the bones of your body immured in a pillar in the
pink cathedral at Kirkwall.
In you the lamb and the millennium: the first resurrection.
Queen of plums, plumpest Queen.
It was you who rewrote the deservedly little-known Vita Roci.
Bronze, Maltese, cruciform.
Arches over the Vltava (makes a change from waltzes on the
At first a churl, at last once and future king; but still, an ill-
omened name for rulers.
The nicest child I ever knew.
You accommodate several creatures: the nit and the obstinate
ram, and the bird zipping through the marram or whistling
under the eaves.
Like a third son in a wondertale, you shared what you had.
The result: exposure.
Son of the fourth planet.
Who lopped off Holofernes' head; whose father was Charles
the Bald; who sat on the marriage see-saw with Esau.
That's enough to be going on with.
Old, white-haired, brainless, and very liable to see the world
Of Malmesbury, Norwich and Newburgh.
The first one was a bastard and the second red; the next half
was red mixed with yellow and the last fathered bastards.
(Another one was pink.)
You're fifty, and hairy . . .
You serve a term in the Courts of Law and Learning.
Androgynous, always cheerful.
1. Amy 2. John 3. Eric 4. Matilda or Maud
5. Anthony 6. Flora 7. Dominic 8. Fanny
9. Cuthbert 10. Bronwen 11. Mark 12. Ursula
13. Thomas 14. Norman 15. Moira 16. Henry
17. Anna 18. Magnus 19. Victoria 20. Charles
21. Martin 22. Judith 23. William 24. Hilary
poetrymagazines' note: With acknowledgments to The Mountains of Norfolk: New and Selected Poems and The Exeter Book Riddles by Kevin Crossley-Holland, both published by Enitharmon.
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