Pope Urban II Sonnet-Speech, Clermont, 1095

Oh Noblemen, I’m charged by God to warn
that Christendom is threatened by the Turk.
Torched churches and our pilgrim dead we mourn,
whilst in Jerusalem’s bounds brute pagans lurk.

At home your greed and thuggish acts have placed
your souls in peril, yet if you should fight
these infidels all sins shall be effaced
and entry into Paradise your right.

Next spring I ask you all to wield a sword—
from knight, to page, to footman, rich and poor.
By ship, the Mediterranean Sea we’ll ford,
don armour and engage in holy war.

Step forward! Take a vow and join our band
to liberate and cleanse our Saviour’s land.



Lockdown Dad

“I’m Hercules, the famous ancient Greek,”
he told his wide-eyed children as they lay
beneath their sheets, “and in these parts I seek
the legendary Hydra whom I’ll slay.”

His daughter’s Jedi sword gripped in his hand,
he poked its glowing blade beneath the beds
and cried, “Foul beast, I’ve journeyed from a land
beyond the sea. Now show your ugly heads!”

Then in the doorway suddenly appeared,
the ‘Hydra’! Lo, his kids were stricken dumb
by snakeskin green pyjamas and the weird
gyrations of their overacting mum.

And so, before our hero went to bed,
he make-believe chopped off their mother’s head.



Paul A. Freeman is the author of Rumours of Ophir, a crime novel which was taught in Zimbabwean high schools and has been translated into German. In addition to having two novels, a children’s book and an 18,000-word narrative poem (Robin Hood and Friar Tuck: Zombie Killers!) commercially published, Paul is the author of hundreds of published short stories, poems and articles.

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5 Responses

  1. Sally Cook

    I tremendously enjoy your two edged sword; i.e. that of combining the classics with the contemorary.
    Hope to see more of your work on this site !

    • Paul A. Freeman

      Thanks for that, Joseph. The extra foot was originally there and must have gotten amputated somewhere along the road to revision.

  2. C.B. Anderson

    Excellent work, Paul. These two narratives were tight as a drumhead, with lines that meshed like the gears of a Swiss watch.

  3. Yael

    Nice poems! I enjoy both of them a lot, thank you.
    The second one reminds me of my dad, in a good way.


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