Raj Arumugam

I, Sarah Malcolm - Poem by Raj Arumugam

I am Sarah Malcolm -
yes, the one they call “the Irish Laundress”
and the jury found me guilty of the murders
(the Infamous Murderess)
of Mrs Lydia Duncomb,
Mrs Harrison and the servant Ann Price
in Mrs Lydia’s chamber
at the Inns of Court in the Temple;
and imagine the jury only needed 15 minutes

and there was disbelief when I admitted to robbery
but not murder
and there was disgust
when I said the blood on my clothing was my own menstrual blood
and not the blood of Ann Price:
I had broken a taboo in talking of menstrual blood
for, as they say,
only ‘loose’ and the not so ‘virtuous’ women speak that way

and of course even after the judgement
I have been deemed even more guilty
for I am “of a different Communion”
of the Catholic faith, not Anglican -
just as the Ordinary, James Guthrie described me
in instructing me here at Newgate on the Christian faith;
and I have earned the name now of many
as the 'evil, barbaric, and stubborn woman'

And now Mr Hogarth sketches and paints
that you might have a view of me;
and the appointed date is 7 March 1733
when I will be executed...
and these lines I add to the picture
that you might remember me

___________________________________ _______________
Sarah Malcolm (1710-1733)

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Poem Submitted: Monday, January 2, 2012

Poem Edited: Monday, January 2, 2012

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