‘Matfen Hall’, Jo Somerset

Jo Somerset is a Manchester-based writer who found a voice through Northern Gay Writers in Manchester.  Publications include Passion Prioritised in the Diva Book of Short Stories (2000), ‘Pushing the Boundaries of Feminism in a Northern English Town’ (Northern History, March 2018),  and a series of articles in 2013 for Total Women’s Cycling Mums’ Corner.  She has jointly brought up five children and is currently applying her creative juices to a Creative Writing MA at Salford University.

Matfen Hall

Blood counts, says
Baronet Blackett and his
trusty sidekick Mr Bloodworthy.

Bloody rump of lamb and
blood in Blackett’s black pudding:
blood counts on the farm, where
ethical blood spills, sustaining his diners.

Bloodlines stronger than streaming blood,
blue blood in the bloodstream.
Blood counts, says the
Countess in her counting-house, married
to Count Blackett and his faithful aide

How much blood dripped
building this hall,
quarrying its stone,
scrubbing its floors,
scrubbing to the bone?

(Bloody servants, complaining.)

Blood of the lamb born blue, skinned.

Armour-clad Blackett’s blood curdled
in 1640, holding captive the King
before bloodlust axed his head, rolling
bloody but unbowed.

Leeches’blood-sucking saved lives, supposedly.
Boer blood spilt, pictured on the estimable wall of Matfen Hall,
saved an empire, reputedly.

Can you tell me, worthy manager, Mr Bloodworthy,
Is Blackett a leech or a Bloody Good Thing,
Or are there secrets the blue-blooded don’t share?

One thought on “‘Matfen Hall’, Jo Somerset

  1. Loved this! Both the message it conveyed and the pace of it.
    When I finished reading it, I found myself looking at my hands to see if they were stained!!


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