The Turnip King

Staring up at the sun-studded ceiling,
the mayor of Salzburg was awestruck
by the archbishop’s castle on the hill. 
1511 and Austria lay snow-locked.

The mayor was more than content
to be served venison, salted herring
and, as always, white turnips –
little half-moons on the trencher.

They were, he later thought, 
more like heads hacked off at the neck. 
But that was only after being bound,
chained, forced to renounce his livelihood. 

History remembers the turnip king, forgets
the men in the dungeon, flames licking
synagogue walls, full plates
left beneath a sky-blue ceiling.