VxPoem ID: 38327
Posted: May 12th. 2010 12:09:41 PM
Death of a Midwife
Age Group: Adult
They do not stop to ask her what the chants she sings are for
when she hears the thud of heavy handed pounding on her door.
She cannot write her name or read the summons that they post
and it is all the not knowing that frightens her the most.
They grab her by the shoulders and throw her to the ground;
she thinks she should be screaming but she cannot find the sound!
The lighted torch flies by her and lands before the hearth
and then consumes the cabin she has lived in since her birth.
The word she hears them shrieking in a shrill and angry pitch
is the one that feeds pyre in the square, the word is Witch!
And they chant it as they drag her before the magistrate;
these children of a loving God who are consumed with hate.
They strip her of her clothing, each and every strand,
then they commence to beat her till she’s much too weak to stand
and they cut her hair and break her bones and say it’s for her good,
and they say that she is evil while they’re covered in her blood.
Then, alas, when she has taken all the pain that she can bear,
she confesses to it all and tells them what they want to hear.
She does not know, and does not care what happens to her now,
she only knows that they will kill her though she knows not why or how
she’s come to be in this position as they lead her to the cart
and take her to the executioner that he may play his part.
So she stands upon the kindling, hands bound behind her back
and she sees the man who’ll burn her though his face is draped in black,
and she looks out at the faces of her neighbors and her friends
who never told her what she did that she might try to make amends.
She sees this mob around her who know nothing of her worth
even those whose pain she eased while on the blocks of childbirth,
or the children she brought forth with skill that kept them from the grave,
or the husbands that she comforted when they could not be brave.
She feels a tear cut through the blackened soot upon her cheek
and she wants to ask them why but she has lost the strength to speak,
when she spots a grim and solitary figure in the crowd
and the hatred and contempt of her in which he is enshroud.
He bears a striking countenance which at first she cannot place
then all at once she's recognized the stern and angry face
of a man who’d had a wife but, although the midwife tried
to save the mother and the child, in the end the pair had died.
And the horror comes upon her as the torch is touched to wood,
as she smells her own flesh burning it is sadly understood
that in the madness and the darkness of his loss and grief and shame,
this poor man cannot survive at all with no one else to blame.
And yet, although she is dying a truly monstrous death,
she draws the smoke in deeply and it burns her final breath
and she screams up to the heavens one last thought she would impart:
that though she’s angry and she’s scared there is forgiveness in her heart.
And the dust and smoke and ashes lift her essence up above
the throng of ugly, angry children who’ve forgotten how to love
this poor old woman who had birthed them and had healed them all their lives;
who is reduced at last to ashes like so many other wives.
And the dust and smoke and ashes are transported by a crow
to that place beyond the curtain where the living cannot go,
and the gods themselves all greet her, yes each and every one,
in a place known as the Summerland, Utopia, Zion.
And they bathe her in the ether, and they clothe her in the wind
and they laugh aloud at the very thought that she had sinned.
And they gild her hair in starlight and they kiss her gentle brow,
and she lives right there among them for she is a Goddess now.
Author's Location: Concord, New Hampshire
More Poems: Sparrowgael has posted 21 additional poems- View them?
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