Do not forsake, O England,
The words that spelled you to the world,
Beneath the abbey where poets lie,
Interred or honored on their stones;
Footfalls bringing names to lips,
And names the realms they bore.

More than other lands, your
Soil produced a tongue, giving birth
To hammered lines of fire and steel,
And defter accents, minstrel lays,
Lyric and ayre, ranks of iambs
Marching across the globe.

You conquered by bow and broadside,
Yes, but ruled by law and language.
You built our world, brick and mortar;
Your brook became our brook,
Your names and places stuck in our
Minds as the very signet for worth.

These are your heritage, these are
Your national treasure: lessons
Learned from nursery rhymes,
To sterner stuff, the nub of things,
In schoolroom, onstage, wherever
A book was opened and a story told.

And these you must keep, deep
Where heroes and poets abide,
Deep in the hoard of imagination.
In these testing times, in the
Things that matter, O England,
May you steer your own true course.

By Hudson Owen. All Rights Reserved.