I found this really interesting poem on Pinterest and thought it would be interesting to look at on the run up to Halloween. The poet is really talented and captures the woman fear and the crowds hostility very well. In the third paragraph it talks about the womans eyes being “terror wild”
The crowd seems to hate the “witch” one woman damming her and another throwing a rock at her.
In the third paragraph the writer shows her innocence stating “she was a slight and commonly maid no smaller than a child” this makes the action of burning her seem like a horrific and unjustified act.
The writers last lines in the poem are especially haunting “beneath the sudden rain she set her mark upon the throng for time can not erase the echo of her anguished cries , the memory of her face” This shows that she will never be at peace and has made her mark on the world and society and the action wont ever be repeated.
Nor limpit in poetic shackles: I love the opening to this poem it’s so poignant and
Captivating. I think the first line expresses confusion with the words in this strange land. A land unkown to prose or rhyme. I think this is symbolic of the isolation burn feels as a poor writer not many can relate to him. Also perhaps its symbolic of society’s ignorance whither its to do with illiteracy at the time or poverty that blights Scotland. “Where words no’er cross’t the muses heckles Nor limpit in poetic shackles.” This shows that burns feels trapped perhaps by his situation and lack of money but also by his gift for the written word.
A land that Prose did never view it,
Except when drunk he stacher’t thro’ it;
Here, ambush’d by the chimla cheek,
Hid in an atmosphere of reek,
“A land that Prose did never view it.” I think this expresses burns frustration that although he is one of the most gifted writers in history he still cant capture all that he wants to. Except when drunk he stachert thro it. This reveals what burns sees the drunks of the streets and perhaps his own battle with drink. Here ambush’d by the chimla cheek. Hid in an atmosphere of reek. This shows what the city was dirty at the time and covered in reek.
I hear a wheel thrum i’ the neuk,
I hear it—for in vain I leuk.
The red peat gleams, a fiery kernel,
Enhuskèd by a fog infernal:
Here, for my wonted rhyming raptures,
I sit and count my sins by chapters; In this stanza what stands out to me is the line “k
For in vain I leuk. This suggests that Burns perhaps feels guilty about his
Fame and talent.
“The red peat gleams, a fiery kernel Enhusked by a fog infernal. These lines are symbolic of heat and perhaps the devil or anger, burns maybe feels like the Devil. “Here , for my wonted rhyming raptures I sit and count my sins by chapters.” He feels guilty about his gift perhaps because of his position in society and the fame and talent he has.
For life and spunk like ither Christians,
I’m dwindled down to mere existence,
Wi’ nae converse but Gallowa’ bodies,
Wi’ nae kenn’d face but Jenny Geddes,
Jenny, my Pegasean pride!
In this stanza he is in conflict with himself and his religion , he admits he’s not a very good Christian maybe because his love of drink or sex. “Im dwindled down to mere existence “here he feels that society does not value his talent and he is merely living a pointless life that wont amount to much.
I wish I could rewind the clock Like a tape recorder. So i could sit in that cardboard box Or bake with my mum. I long to go back to that couch and watch ghost adventures with my brother and for the night to slip away while we cowered beneath a cover.
I wish I could have toast with my nana at her kitchen table. Or help her with her scrap book that disappeared. I think if she new she’d be angry for once , perhaps from out of fear.
I wish my gran could read me the wishing chair as a child. Or make me chocolate spread on toast. What is there anymore no money, no life , no hope!
Perhaps I could go back to my English classroom and have a bit of fun! Instead I’m standing looking down the barrel of a gun.
We could of had a council house with proper rooms or cartons of orange juice instead of frozen food ! But be careful where you point your finger it might come back to you !
What if his had not happened And we were still hanging about down the point He offered me a cigarette I should of smoked a joint!
I wish I could wash the names out of their mouths with turps. I don’t want attention , only the peaceful song of morning birds.
My clothes still smell like the flat that I chucked you out of.
If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run— Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
There are children jumping in front of trains , and grown men throwing bricks through window panes.
An old woman drowning out her sorrow by voting for the devils of tomorrow.
There are qualified girls lining up for food , and young boys disguising their face with a hood.
Polite ladies burning up my book , whilst their dearest darlings get up to no good. Kicking the life out of a man until his lips turn to blue.
For I have seen your likes before , I have already chapped this door and ran away I never stay. In the dark I stiffly lay.
For they are you and they are me. Scotland’s shame to the highest degree.
Sentence me with immortality.
You are people in textbooks no more , which teenagers think are just a bore.