By Patricia Brody


“Yet will I show one sight”

That I saw in my time.

From Lines In Prison, Anne Askew, 1546



That dank year in chains, she would not cry out,

her wrists and ankles stretched on Newgate’s rack.

She chose her fate:

“Not to dispraise God, but to love hys Word.”

Judged Divinely,

she burned in July.  I saw the Bishop dive

for my living heart.   The Duke of Norfolk, the Lord Mayor,  decried

my crimes.  In clear agony, I saw their fear.    The rack’s

work dragged, dragged, done,  the flames crackled

and rose:  knees, belly, chest.

Would Divine

law save her now, another child of God, or hear the mother’s

animal cry?

Your child, for instance, mine  —  her cries

stone-muffled, her eyes open,  bones racked

with her Endurance and soon,  soft skin used

for a lampshade. . .  Divine

light pours like honey on the children — in stripes,

beside the heaped bodies, raked

for shoes, love-tokens,  gold fillings.  Not a soul leaves

the site:  Sunset    bird-cry     Night Divine. 

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