From bleak expanse of Bodmin Moor
to forbidding grey hulk of Jail,
the very air is infused with dread.
Uneasy stillness. No birds singing. This could be
the seventeen-seventies, eighteen-eighties - any century.
Time itself appears suspended within these sinister walls
that loom so menacingly over surrounding houses.
There is something rotten to the core here, you can feel it.
Crossing the threshold. Pitched into a twilight world
where vestiges of a gruesome past
where the Souls of long-deceased prisoners
continue to wander in utter torment:
hazy faces glimpsed gazing from barred windows
and spine-tingling moans
that you hope and pray are mere trick of the wind.
Such collusion of mulish impressions,
emotionally draining to the point of exhaustion.
and fifty-five executions - fifty-one of them public.
The intense anxiety
of the condemned convict's final walk to scaffold can barely be imagined,
neither can the macabre glee of the onlookers.
Ah, the rank inhumanity of en masse sadism!
No pathetic prisoner now within
this decaying cell where once Selina languished.
Just a faint echo of her desperate sobbing,
pathetic and guilt-ridden. What is it
that survives to grieve so
for a young son, murdered
to appease a false lover? The Soul's
harrowing lament infiltrates the emotions
until you're forced to close down awareness.
A child - a labour of love - and that love destroyed
for the likes of him. Oh unworthy one,
who abandoned her here in this sepulchre. She died
clutching a white handkerchief. Her final words,
"Lord deliver me from this miserable world."
Then the executioner pulled the lever
and sent her plummeting into eternity.
I can feel in this dank and claustrophobic cell
your suffering and your anguish, impregnated
within this restless darkness.
And through you naive innocence have learned,
and so finally understand with such empathy.
Poor Selina, how your abject terror of being alone
drove you to the unthinkable act of infanticide.
Mute, these walls are screaming "REMORSE! REMORSE!"