Fourteen Lines for the Challenger

                     For St. Edmund Campion (1540-1581)
 
They would not let you speak. Sometimes the truth
Must hide; more often it is hid. The right’s
Constrained by circumstance: soft hands with ruth
Sequester it, in priest holes where no light
Wrestles with light, the dark uncomprehending,
Until its weathered hands can grab and seize
Where ruthlessness has leave for its offending,
Past conscience, in the room of Little Ease. 
They would not let you speak. Your speaking then
Had opened doors that they must keep well closed:
Wrong answers are inside. Some hiding men
Dwell in a world where questions die, unposed. 
    But your repose is sweet, your words came good,
    Where works speak more than words, on Tyburn’s wood. 

3 comments

  1. Mark,

    I read the levied sentence as spoken by the judge and I felt physically ill.
    When I was younger I spent a lot of time studying history; I can’t remember
    that I felt it so strongly.

    “The right’s
    Constrained by circumstance: soft hands with ruth
    Sequester it, in priest holes where no light
    Wrestles with light, the dark uncomprehending,
    Until its weathered hands can grab and seize
    Where ruthlessness has leave for its offending,
    Past conscience, in the room of Little Ease.”

    Your words are inspired and inspiring.

    Sarah

    Like

  2. “Your speaking then
    Had opened doors that they must keep well closed”

    Amazing, the power of words
    and the punishments for trying to speak those words.

    Quietly powerful last line.

    Much enjoyed.
    take care,
    Kerri

    Like

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