Ethelred the Unready

Ethelred the Unready

Why was Ethelred the Unready?
For what did he not prepare?
Why was his throne unsteady?
If I were an inky schoolboy
maybe I would care.
Knew once but not now.
Last essay I wrote, long ago,
not good with facts, anyhow.
Maybe it was an invasion,
a rebel plot discovered too late
he ought to have known about?
Whatever it was, to be unready was his fate.
At least I know why Alfred was the Great
but why was Hereward the Wake?
Puzzles I place on my plate,
I research for my brain cells sake.
Ethelred was not truly the Unready
rather he was the Ill Advised,
was not him who was not wise
now from annals the truth I prised.
From my chair, I step out of my time,
trudge through marsh mud,
breathe in to smell sea salt,
hear gulls cry in the air,
feel a chill wind, see reeds
and water everywhere.
What the wolf does not bite,
the viper stings.
I wade towards the line
of Anglo-Saxon kings,
enter a thatch roof hut,
glad to take the offered chair.
At me those around me
keenly stare,
the men hunt and fish,
the women weave and wish.
Grey smoke coils from a fire on the floor
to pass through a hole in the roof.
Of what I guessed at, they give me proof.
Better to be a steady Eddie
than to be an Ethelred the Unready.

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