Notes From The Newgate Calendar

Those two?---theirs was a sin not discharged in the confessional.

They murdered a young adolescent man for his beauty

(long-haired, slender, a dancer), and because of his homosexual

desire,  They believed it was their religious and social duty:

to smash many of his bones; his suffering body, badly mangled.

They deserved a most excruciating, even terrifying, end

to their foolery.  The hangman, himself---aggravated

by their lack of even a shred of remorse, for such cruelty,

deliberately but surreptitiously miscalculated

the rope's length for the drop:  they slowly strangled

(their purpled faces and blackened tongues evidenced their agony).

His work done, the hangman returned home to his own boyfriend---

a lad just out of Cambridge---delicate and studious,

whose attraction to his older lover is very obvious.


Author's Notes/Comments: 

This poem was written without previous outline or planning.  I did not realize it contained fourteen lines until I had reached the final line.  The measure is irregular so it is not, properly, a sonnet; and it follows a loosened rhyme scheme with a couplet at its end.

I think it is an appropriate poem for this month which brought us to the twenty-fifth anniversary of the heinous murder and martyrdom of Matthew Shepard.

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