after Caroline Bergvall


              the martyr
of twenty year of age he was, i guess
the heap of bodies dead    and many a bloody wound
tyranny that cause is of his murder
that in his house was by his servants slain
              man is slain like any other beast
and dwells in prison and arrest
              and often guiltless
what governance is this that torments innocence?
              a judge or other officer:
               suspicious was the ill fame of this man
               suspect his face      suspect his word also
               and evil shall have that evil will deserve
therefore he ordered         by the law
     but we go wrong full often, truly
murder will out
                                         the blood cries out
                                   the blood out crieth on your cursed deed
tragedy is to say a sort of story
which old books record for memory
of those who stood in great prosperity
              and fell
                                  and ended
                                  i will obey as far as reason asks
                                  the dark imagining
              of felony and the conspiring
the smiler with the knife under the cloak
the treason of the murdering in the bed
              a thousand slain
mine is the prison in the dark coat
mine is the strangling hanging by the throat

the murmur           and the workers rebelling
the groaning and the secret poisoning
                  i do vengeance and correction
mine is the ruin of the high halls
the falling of the towers and the walls
don’t be hoodwinked in your innocence
but take the governance upon yourselves
                the common profit
this is no time to study here


Samantha Pious
*Source text for this poem: The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer