Awakened to the sound of crows

caparisoned in feathers

iridescent, black & sleek.

Rapping at their reflections

In my window,

with their insolent beaks.

Each crow it seems a strutting villain,

straight from Shakespeare

in their black stockinged leg.

A Richard King

on little princes feasting,

mere babes too young

to fall from the nest

or beg..

For mercy-yy.

For Mercy!


Yea each crow becomes Macbeth,

when they clear their throat to speak,

or nonchalantly clean on bloodied wing

the daggered beak.

Or when the arrogant, tilted head held dreaming,

lifts the dark, sardonic eye that scheming

seems to say..

Oh How I wish the Human Race

had but a Single Face!

You know WHY?

So that I

might spit in it

Once and for All,

to show my Complete

and utter Contempt

for the Whole,



And screaming they fly flapping away.






Book of the Week:

Fusiliers –Eight Years with the Redcoats in Americaby Mark Urban, (2007,Faber &Faber)

It is the prosecution with honour of an unwanted war that places the hardest demand on a soldier”- Mark Urban.

The Imp of the Perverse recommends this book because of its unusual perspective.

It is often said that history is written by the victors, or at least, told from their point of view, and in general books written on the American War of Independence follow this ancient maxim. The story of the revolution provides a font of national mythology for American historians and politicians alike. They look for examples of leadership, bravery & enthusiasm only from the ranks of Washington’s’ army, while the ‘Hostile Other’ is always depicted as brutal, inept and cowardly. The atrocities against loyalist civilians committed by American ‘freedom fighters’ is conveniently forgotten, whilst minor incidents involving British forces quickly become ‘massacres’ & ‘outrages’. It was ever thus.

This meticulously researched book tells the story of this war from the perspective of a British regiment, the 23rd Welch Fusiliers. Delving deeply into historical archives, Urban has uncovered a treasure trove of regimental records & personal correspondence from members of this regiment, allowing us to follow the careers (and indeed the hopes and dreams) of individuals caught up in this historic struggle. Through them we learn much of the times and the struggle. We especially learn how the corrupt, inefficient, outdated and ramshackle 18th century British army learned from its humiliating American experience, and was able to transform itself into the efficient fighting machine that destroyed Napoleon at Waterloo. Not least was this due to the battle hardened cadre of

veterans from the struggle with the American colonies. Leaders like General Cornwallis inspired their men to fight a politically unpopular war for their own self-respect, the love of comrades and for pride of their regiment, end evolve into a modern, professional force in the process.

For armchair warriors the book is chock full of tactical and logistic data. As always the success of many an important campaign is determined by its ability to maintain its supply lines. Also, as often happens in war, disease and desertion took a heavier toll than the actual fighting. When it came to depleted ranks it seems the Brit’s particularly had a problem with the large numbers of their soldiers running off to shack up with the local girls.

And thus the Revolution was won.


The Reverend Hellfire is a practising performance poet and an ordained minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanists.



~ by reverendhellfire on May 30, 2010.

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