From the Journal of Branwell Bronte

the Black Bull Inn, Haworth, January, 1848

In this dark place where visions fail
Between black pints of Yorkshire ale
While hard against shut tavern doors
Snow blows from godforsaken moors

I think of when our father came
With soldier-toys we made a game
And then a world for which I grieve,
Play’s Eden place I’ll never leave.

Now Charlotte, Emily, and Anne
Write secretly apart and plan
To make the sprites of fairy tales
Gruff Yorkshiremen in Yorkshire dales.

But nothing of their novel art
Can capture Glasstown or a heart
That only some post potent brew
Or drugs console now play is through.

And though my life has been a waste
By pain, disease, and failure graced,
That life seems richer than the prose
Ambitious sisters still compose.

Yet if at last they earn their fame
Biographers will learn the name
Of one who roamed on darker moors
Than those outside the Black Bull’s doors.


David Middleton
from his book Beyond the Chandeleurs
Louisiana State University Press, 1999

reprinted with permission of the poet
and with special permission from LSU Press

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