Sunday, 17 February 2013

Of the Monstrous Regiment

Am looking forward very much to our next meeting - Poetry Reading and Afternoon Tea at historic Carberry House Hotel on 17th. March. Full details will be e-mailed to members or will in the post within the next 48 hours.

 Meantime thought it very appropriate that this week's "Poem of the Week" in the Scotsman Magazine should be  "On the Monstrous Regiment"  by Henry Marsh

Henry Marsh has written  quite a few poems on Mary and John Knox and will be reciting a number of them  at the Scottish Poetry Library off the Canongate  (above) on Wednesday evening at 6.30 - just sorry I am not going to manage along.

 The poem:

Were you fed by ravens

Master Knox? At the least,

your zealous brethern

obliged with a wilderness,

where you could approve,

crows nodding

amongst shards and ashes.


Jezebel- how convenient

the heft of the old stories

a stolen vineyard,

 Naboth stoned,

and Yahweh harrying,

your captive souls,

 half demented.


How neat to cast

 our mischievous Marys

in one image

a painted whore.

Did you ever catch

in the mirror your own

soul's darker strands?


Thou shall die the death-

even Calvin winced

at regicide. Were not all

equal in the sight of God?

But who dares walk

that perilous ridge

between iniquities.


 Find it a thought provoking if somewhat dark poem.

 Probably a bit unfair to suggest Knox preached regicide - not aware that he ever did so and why in the third verse is Mary(mischievous) in the plural (was he purporting to refer to the four Marys or perhaps including Mary Tudor - or a simple typo?)



1 comment:

  1. Didn't Knox rant at the 4 Marys for their vanity, Ronald? Also could include Mary of Guise. As for regicide currently investigating this claim of Dr. M'Crie who remarks that Knox "held the opinion, that persons who, according to the law of God and the just laws of society, have forfeited their lives by the commission of flagrant crimes, such as notorious murderers and tyrants, may warrantably be put to death by private individuals, provided all redress in the ordinary course of justice is rendered impossible, in consequence of the offenders having usurped the executive authority, or being systematically protected by oppressive rulers." Hmmmm