Guest Poem by Peter Sutton

Peter Sutton’s alliterative translation of Langland’s medieval Piers Plowman was published by McFarland of North Carolina in 2014. Poems of Armenian War and Peace, co-written with Liana Hayrapetyan, appeared in 2019 (Yerevan: EditPrint), and his two collections Elgar Country and A Colourful Age in 2022 and 2023 (both Worcester: Black Pear Press). Other poems have appeared in journals, and he often reads at poetry events. He is an experienced editor and translator. This poem is from Acumen 107.

Here I Stand

Here I stand for I can do no other,
tied to my neighbours, my enemies, friends,
cousins and siblings, ancestors, offspring,
pushing and shoving and reaching for light,
building up brawn and strengthening sinews,
bartering messages, crisscrossing limbs,
digging for dead things, minerals, water,
counting the moons and the seasons and years,
watching the passing of fleeting shadows,
mayflies who only consider themselves,
feeling the blows of the cutthroat axes,
rooted, beheaded, defenceless but strong.