41 Years in New England – a poetry interlude

41 Years in New England (1647-1688)

Alice Young and Elizabeth Kendal and Margaret Jones

Hung as witches

Denial on their lips as they stood on the scaffold

but conviction in the rope as it caressed their throats harshly

slowly squeezing off life

from their thrashing bodies

as good God-fearing men looked on

probably wondering if they thrashed about half as much

under their Dark Lover.

Joan and John Carrington of Wethersfield

joined in love, joined in wedlock, joined on the hangman’s tree

dancing together for the last time

when any other dancing was immoral therefore illegal

at least they met their fate together

spared from the lonliness of facing death alone

like so many others in that rock strewn landscape

Rebecca Greensmith confessed but Nathaniel didn’t

but it didn’t make any difference at all

as they hung like rotten fruit

from Hartford Gallows

jerking, then just swaying

till they were plucked to be buried

without honor, without friends, without even a stone

to mark their passing

Mary Johnson and Goody Bassett and crazy old Goodie Glover

they all confessed

and died because of it

in Wethersfield and Fairfield and Boston

but Alice Lake and Lydia Gilbert and Ann Hibbens

they all denied it

and still they died

in Dorchester and Windsor and Boston

victims of fear and cruelty and righteous religious slander

And Goody Knapp of Fairfield and Mary Sanford of Hartford

victims of imported fear and manipulated hatred

and lust and fears of lust and lust unstillable

threateners of the status quo

and Mary Barnes of Farmington

who signed a pact with the devil

just like all the others

though no one ever brought forth proof

to justify sixteen bodies

hanging in scenic New England

And then came Salem…


About paganveteran

National Coordinator of the Pagan Veterans Headstone Campaign and current National Commander, Pagan Veterans of the United States of America. Author, writer, poet, speaker and general disturber of the peace.
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