Spietis of the Devill

Eufame MacLayne was burned at the stake in 1519, accused of witchcraft because she dared dull the pain of bearing twins by taking an analgesic herb. According to the church, women were to bear the pain of childbirth unaided because of the sin of Eve. She and the twins survived, but she was executed. This poem is written in the style of 16th century English.

Spietis of the devill, shrieked the High

Court of Justiciary. Women for pain.

No whiff of herb, sorcerie,  charms.

Sche deserves what Eve brought forthe.

Timber heaped high, stake driven deep.

Shee is reprehensible and heretical. 

From Pain of labour to Pain of flames,

Eufame MacLayne bare twins, her babes

torn from her full breasts aching on the

Castle Hill of Edinburgh. Genesis, Exodus . .

Do not contravene the Decrees of Providence.

Evil women. Gateway of the Devil. 

Sche gasped for a potion, the midwife

Agnes Sampson, seized her hidden stash.

Now damned for showing compassion

practicing her craft. Carnal, Heresy!

Woman, do not despise your curse.

Outcasts, Bitches, Hexen, Vixen, Scum.

Faire is foul, and foul is faire. She who is

the misbegotten sex, brings black plague.

“God almighty, when did I deny you?

You forsook me, you made my feminine form.”

Fire licking at her soles, hair singed.

“Come my child, you are home in my breasts.”    October 30, 2016

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