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This poem is taken from PN Review 11, Volume 6 Number 3, January - February 1980.

Resting Place John Silkin

In . . . c.1230, John le Romeyn, then subdean of York Minster, recorded the sale to the commune of the York Jews of a plot of land in Barkergate adjacent to what was already antiquum cimiterium Iudeorum. It is therefore on that site, immediately west of the river Foss and now under the tarmac of a civic car park, that archaeologists will no doubt one day disturb the posthumous tranquillity of Jews who can have rarely been. completely tranquil while alive.

The Jews of Medieval York and the Massacre of March 1190 by R. B. Dobson, 1974 (p.47)

1.
        Where the camshaft weeps
oil, where the pained axle
        contracts

over Barkergate, what there is is still in pain.

The car, the cracked plated animal,
these oils weep by degrees back from their cells.

        Their crouched forms
tremble above our graves: Judah'd with oil
        their iron drips into our mouths.

What is it then, is it nothing?

        Earth's justice
cakes the skull with the clay's
        bronze confections,

                                 we are
oil creeping to the Foss
...


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