Guilt and Shame in the Market Place

*

The sun bore down on the Market Cross, where Guilt and Shame were sat

Guilt was clad in a penitent’s rags, and Shame wore a dunce’s hat

The steps were strewn with sticks and stones, and faggots had been lit

And smoke rose up to the pinnacles where shadows of psychopomps sit

“It was you,” said Guilt to Shame, “‘twas you, that brought us to this place”

Shame hung her head as her cheek bled red from the whip of the flame on her face

“‘Tis maybe true,” said she to Guilt, “for I was ever this

Destined to burn in the Market Place for the sake of a stolen kiss”

Guilt fell silent, angry tongues flicking ire in the light of his eye

“‘Twas you as well, my love,” she said, “who brought us here to die”

Then she fell silent too, as snakes of flame hissed in her hair

And the stench of smoking human flesh pervaded the summer air

Above the Cross the sun bore down, and the wheels of justice turned

Guilt and Shame in the Market Place; by terrible passion burned

© Gail Foster 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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