The fires rise
above her neck,
Blue, Orange, Yellow and Red.
Skin melting, peeling off,
As the flames dance upon her head.
The smoke billows forth,
Black, grey and white.
The fires spend their worth,
And day gives way to night.
Birds all fall silent.
The insects take up their song.
The cold wind turns violent,
Taking up the mantle of the wronged.
These winds bring down strongholds,
Topple walls and crumble foundations.
Her wrath and vengeance blow,
a plague upon all nations.
This poem is based on the death of Agnes Sampson. She was one of the first people burned at the stake for witchcraft in early modern Scotland. In the two centuries that followed, roughly 4,000 women, men and children were burned at the stake for suspected witchcraft in Scotland alone.