A beautiful poem about HISTORY

Here’s a wondrous birthday gift that I received from my talented sister-in-law, Kersti Worsley.  She wrote me a poem about HISTORY. Take your time and read it aloud…


History is the hot breath of time on the back of your neck,

History is the empty eye sockets of a Tyrannosaurus Rex,

History is the creak and grown of tectonic plates,

History is the sunrise over Stonehenge and the warmth on your face,

History is the lichen that clings to Hadrian’s Wall,

History is the crack of a jaw in a bar brawl,

History is the tiles in a Roman mosaic,

History is not just about the archaic,

History is the crackle of a metal detector,

History is the Hugin longship, even if it’s a replica,

History is the smell of King Alfred’s bread as you burn your toast,

History is the Martello towers along the south coast,

History is every thread of the Bayeux Tapestry,

History is researching your family tree,

History is burst of spices on your tongue,

History is cinnamon, ginger and cardamon,

History is the lingering stench of Black Death,

History is The Scottish Play, not Macbeth, 

History is the cold clash of steel that battles in your ears,

History is the unkindness of years,

History is the wind that filled the sails of the Golden Hind,

History is sayings like, ‘‘You’ve got to be cruel to be kind,’

History is the angry flames on November the fifth,

History is both fact and myth,

History is the clang of the Industrial Revolution,

History is the tightness of rope at an execution,

History is the prick of a needle and the smallpox vaccine,

History is Wellington v Napoleon in 1815,

History is the first bobbies on the beat,

History is people you’ll never meet,

History is the shackles of slavery,

History is both cowardice and bravery,

History is Austen, Bronte and Dickens,

History is pickpockets and their rich pickings,

History is dancing the Charleston in feathers and pearls,

History is more than just barons and earls,

History is breaking the ice on the outdoor privy,

History is the buzz and hum of electricity,

History is the right to a free education,

History is the skin and bones of starvation,

History is every fresh blush on Flanders fields,

History is guns, armour, swords and shields,

History is the crackle of the wireless and, ‘This country is at war,’

History doesn’t choose between rich and poor,

History is every laughter line you earn,

History is the tea lady and the tea urn,

History is one giant leap of mankind,

History is the blind leading the blind,

History is mods and rockers, punks and ravers,

History is ice pops in twenty different flavours,

History is pressing play and record for the Top Ten,

History is who, what, how, why and when, 

History is turning your computer off and on again,

History is about the significant and the mundane,

History is that line from a song you just can’t remember

History is ‘Thirty days has September’, 

History is the smell of hops in your beer,

History is every ‘Happy Birthday‘ that you hear,

History is the dust on your shelf,

History is a reflection of the self,

History is the hiss and pop of a sodastream,

History is not wanting to be picked last for the netball team,

History is Ice Magic, Vienetta and sherbet in bags,

History is those sweets that pretended to be fags,

History is looking both ways at the same time,

History is his and hers and yours and mine,

History is then, now and tomorrow,

History is all the time that we borrow,

History is the footsteps of everyone that has gone before,

History is all this and so much more.

© Kersti Worsley

9 thoughts on “A beautiful poem about HISTORY

  1. Shelley Masini

    What a lovely birthday gift. Thank you for sharing with the rest of us. Your talented sister-in-law has captured that which precedes us, defines us, consumes us and, even so, remains elusive to many of us. I shall enjoy reading this again, again as I study my history!

  2. Harry Chong

    This is the best poem I have ever read.

  3. David Knowles

    There is a young lady from Reading
    Who knows toilets and books and beheadings
    She makes dead turkeys fart
    And discusses fine art
    It’s onwards and upwards she’s heading

    Now that’s what I call poetry!
    Looking forward to Hanover prog
    Best wishes David Knowles

  4. Andrew West

    Hi Lucy,
    Thank you for sharing – she certainly is a talented lady. Each line would stand as a notable epigram!
    You are so right about reading aloud. It very much put me in mind of the work of the Liverpool Poets (yes, history to you youngsters!) who wrote with performance very much in mind.
    Here’s a thought – you could record it and sell cds for HRP!
    all the best,
    Andrew West

  5. Susan D

    Wonderful. And I related personally to so many of those lines.

  6. Louise B

    What a brilliant poem and what a lovely gift – thank for sharing it!

  7. Chris Hough

    A wonderful way to remind us all we are the history of tomorrow And to link us to what has gone before My present as a youngster is now my childrens histoery

  8. Brian White

    Every history teacher should have a copy of it on their wall.

  9. Karen Redman

    What a splendid birthday gift. And how true the words of that poem are. Now, meanwhile, when are you going to be giving another talk in the Ilford area? I enjoyed the last one at Valentines Mansion so much!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *