What happens when a Scottish artist and a Scottish poet fuse the muse? It results in a distinctive collaboration. As in TWIST, the painting portrays victims of the Scottish witch-finding times. Next, a poet responds to the art, absorbing the image and reacting to the bloody history and awful cruelty.
Con you imagine the dread of terrified women; alone, hated and intimidated, knowing there is no escape from a cruel doom? How would you feel if the only clemency on offer was being strangled before burning at the stake? What could be worse than the stark loneliness and terror of the Scottish witch-finding?
© Pauline McGee 2011
Studying the painting, my eye is drawn to the top left. As a result, I see an arm and face struggling, underwater. Next, I recall the ducking chair and it’s use. Then, towards the bottom of the work, the calm poker faces of the victims (see first two lines), lost forever, condemned. As the Scottish witch-finding reminds us, evil people have their way when good folk do nothing.
If you want to hear this poem read by the author, click below.
Stay brave. Make sure those brutes can never see
Fear’s count’nance stark and twisted fix’d on me
Oh evil souls who screamed-out je t’accuse
And ‘good’ folk never dared the charge refuse
And lasht my haggard body to this chair
And gob’d their spiteful words into my hair
As up, midst cheers they rais’d me to the sky
And plung’d me down ‘mongst rank weed slime to writhe
So long as justice fails the diff’rent soul
So wicked pow’rs steal love and take control
© Mac Logan: 27th March 2016
Music ℗ Kyle Preston