Sheena Blackhall

Gold Star - 8,379 Points (18/8/1947 / Aberdeen)

William Wallace At The Stirling Monument - Poem by Sheena Blackhall

'I tell you a truth, liberty is the best of all things,
my son, never live under any slavish bond.'

On display is the 700 year old sword,
Five feet four inches long.
Face to face with such a killing blade
You wonder, what kind of warrior could lift it?

'…a tall man with the body of a giant,
cheerful in appearance with agreeable features,
broad-shouldered and big-boned,
with belly in proportion and lengthy flanks,

pleasing in appearance but with a wild look,
broad in the hips, with strong arms and legs,
a most spirited fighting-man,
with all his limbs most strong and very firm.'

Seventy one steps up, is the display
His triumphs, his betrayal, in three -D

Sir John Menteith, a friend and freedom fighter
Stole his weapons, summoned English soldiers.
Betrayed & captured Wallace was roped to a horse,
Seventeen days forced march to the great wen, London
There removed to the Hall of Westminster,
Crowned with oak leaves. Nicknamed King of Outlaws
A mock trial, barbarous and bare of justice

'I can not be a traitor,
…I owe him no allegiance.
He is not my Sovereign;
he never received my homage;
…whilst life is in this persecuted body,
he shall never receive it.'

Treason was styled a triple crime to answer:
Against God, man, against the English King.
The sentence being Wallace should die three times:
Hanged, gralloched, quartered
Torture was not enough to sate their hate
And after death his body was to be:

'...cut up and divided into 4 parts,
the head, cut off, set upon London Bridge,
in the sight of such as pass, whether by land or water'

No appeal was permitted, no mercy given
Dragged naked through the baying, jeering crowd,
The mighty Wallace, tethered between two horses
Crowds pelted him with stones and rotten fruit,
Up to the elms of Smithfield
A three mile walk through pain & purgatory

Hanged, cut down yet alive
His genitals cut off and burned before him
His stomach slit and ritually disembowelled
His beating heart removed, and held on high
All burned upon the grisly brassier

And finally, beheaded, quartered,
Newcastle, Berwick, Perth & Aberdeen
Each to receive one of his severed limbs
No sadistic detail to be overlooked

Returning, chastened, down the spiral staircase
Twenty-first century visitors reach the shop
The Tea Room, coffee and scones in pleasant surroundings

A courtesy bus returns them to the car park
Having watched a piece of history, sanitized
Like watching an extinct creature in a movie
But some will think on bravery and choices.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, September 19, 2010

Poem Edited: Thursday, September 30, 2010

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