The Burnings, by Bob Beagrie

I am not a silent poet

“The whole village was roused; some fled, some attacked me,
until, grievously bruised by stones and many other kinds
of missile weapons, I escaped to the open country…”

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein – 1818

The monster recalls the Godly mob
ablaze with righteous indignation
at indulgences wilfully practiced
under licence of permissible leisure;

pointing the finger, stabbing the sky,
lighting torches, spitting shrapnel,
igniting The Book of Sports
in preparation for wayward bodies,

to reform the borders of acceptability,
rectify the correct codes of conduct,
to take back control, and thereby hand
it over to our duly elected legislators

deemed above all to know best
through disguised impartiality;
so, she kept her pretty head low,
held her breath in the priest hole

flinched as they tore down the May Pole,
up-turned the market stalls, bellowed
for blood, she spied devils in their frenzies
‘though they claimed to do Christ’s work.


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