Tony Harrison

Image by Jane Bown

National Trust

National Trust

Bottomless pits. There's one in Castleton,
and stout upholders of our law and order
one day thought its depth worth wagering on
and borrowed a convict hush-hush from his warder
and winched him down; and back, flayed, grey, mad, dumb.

Not even a good flogging made him holler!

O gentlemen, a better way to plumb
the depths of Britain's dangling a scholar,
say, here at the booming shaft at Towanroath,
now National Trust, a place where they got tin,
those gentlemen who silenced the men's oath
and killed the language that they swore it in.

The dumb go down in history and disappear
and not one gentleman's been brought to book:

Mes den hep tavas a-gollas y dyr

(Cornish) -
'the tongueless man gets his land took.'


Tony Harrison

Tony Harrison Reading from his poems

1Thomas Campey and the Copernican System

2The Pocket Wars of Peanuts Joe

3The Bedbug

4Guava Libre

5Prague Spring

6The Nuptial Torches

7'Flying down to Rio'


9On Not Being Milton

10Classics Society

11National Trust

12Them & [uz]

13Book Ends



16Marked with D.

17The Icing Hand


19Under the Clock


21Initial Illumination

22A Cold Coming

23Legal Ruling

24The Cycles of Donji Vakuf

25Noah's Sacrifice

26Fig on the Tyne

27The Krieg Anthology (extracts)