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











The Angel of the North




Another bloody southerner

Shedding tears at my steely feet

I stand in judgement over you

See me and weep

Tell the angels of the south

To bless you with their feathered sympathy

I have no eyes to cry for you

Nor close in sleep

This is my body, glorious

Within my breast a thousand hammers beat

I cast a shadow over you

See me and weep


by Gail

Drawing a Line; for Hayley Nutland

I wrote this poem for Hayley, a homeless girl who apprehended a villain who viciously mugged an old lady in my home town.  There is a link to the newspaper article beneath the poem


The word on the street is that Hayley done good

A considerable feat for the girl from the wood

She caught him, she taught him, that crime doesn’t pay

She sought him, she fought him, he got put away

There are good folk and bad folk, it’s not always clear

Some folk have a toke, and drink buckets of beer

But at mugging and stabbing, this girl draws a line

She witnessed the grabbing, gave chase, and done fine

So think twice when you say that someone is a zero

Today, doff your hat, because Hayley’s a hero


by Gail