Poem: Kit

Famous posthumous portrait of Niccolò Machiave...

Famous posthumous portrait of Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Somebody stopped me
in the Canterbury street, like a hand
on my arm which took me
by surprise. Two dark eyes full of
verve, like air fanning fire, arresting
me with their stare,
a challenge written with an effulgent
quill; in my mind I saw it tripping
over pages with invention
in sweet candlelight.

So many years before, a Kentish king
knelt before the altar in solemn
genuflection, and now
you, your head brimming with catechism
and heady charm, speaking out like
Machiavelli, Paul becoming
Saul to declare another truth
in your eyes, in mottos and tatty trinkets
of shop windows, which only repeat
your daring pose in ignorance

poem © copyright David F. Barker 2013



  1. E A M Harris · January 28, 2013

    I love this poem. It implies so much without being unpoetically exact. I particularly like ‘… like air fanning fire …’


  2. Ina · January 28, 2013

    Hi David, this is a beautiful poem. I read it a few times and it leaves me with questions, but that is not bad! 🙂


  3. dfb · January 28, 2013

    Hi Ina, and thank you very much. It’s about the brilliant and intriguing Christopher (Kit) Marlowe, contemporary writer to Shakespeare.


  4. rangewriter · January 29, 2013



  5. Three Well Beings · January 30, 2013

    I really enjoyed this David, but I’m grateful for your response to Ina. I was wondering. It’s beautifully composed. Your poetry frequently challenges me to look a little deeper at the holes in my knowledge of British history! 🙂


  6. dfb · January 30, 2013

    Thank you! Well, yes, you’re right. Sometimes I’m a little too obscure, I think. In this one I was trying to describe the benefit of scratching a little beneath the surface of accepted history. I think history is as much about myth as it is about fact, even in recent times.


  7. Three Well Beings · January 30, 2013

    I do agree with you! I enjoy studying history, and perhaps one of my disappointments is that I have only recently been challenged to do that looking beneath the surface. Now I have a great deal of interest and not quite as much time. That’s so true for each of us, I am sure! 🙂


  8. bardessdmdenton · April 4, 2013

    I love this … how the past is present … you have blended the two so lyrically and intelligently.


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