Death Knell

Death Knell

A Poem by Christine Anne Shaw
"

Reading prison, a poem about it's closure. Oscar Wilde was once imprisoned there.

"

So Reading Gaol has now called time
and jangled keys no longer hold
bad men, condemned to barren cells.
Some gruesome crimes made blood run cold.
Long corridors still hear the sighs
of ghosts unready for goodbyes.

Confined behind high barricades,
they served their sentence, debt repaid,
but fiends who slayed with blades or hands
were deemed too wicked to be saved.
Imposed on them black cap means death,
a tightened noose, steals strangled breath.

And Oscar's torment, prison hell,
of misery and wretched woe
from France in exile, where he penned
of inmates there, not friend or foe
but humans off the beaten path
who lost all reason, stoked by wrath.

What now becomes of empty cells?
What future use for walls so steeped,
they ooze with all the grief they've reaped?

© 2019 Christine Anne Shaw



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Very nicely rhymed, with imagery that brings a chill. The old style penal systems were definitely slanted toward punishment, rather than correction. And poor Wilde was there simply for being gay. Of course, in the US currently we have people doing hard time for marijuana offenses, which to me is like sending people to prison for alcohol offenses during prohibition.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

2 Months Ago

Yes, Reading Gaol, famous for incarcerating Oscar Wilde because he was a homosexual. Your situation .. read more



Reviews

We here in the states have 5 times as many incarcerated per-capita than any other country. Yet we seem to neverlearn from the lessons of the old world. I like the formula you used for this.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

2 Months Ago

Hello Tate, that is one huge number of people incarcerated and one wonders why the numbers are so h.. read more
Tate Morgan

2 Months Ago

You’re welcome As I see it the only reason we have so many incarcerated is that when they did away.. read more
Christine Anne Shaw

2 Months Ago

Dreadful thinking. Thank you for the history lesson.
Thankfully - slowly, but ever so slowly in many places of incarceration the conditions are getting better. Several years ago, while on vacation I had the opportunity to visit Alcatraz in San Francisco. Even empty, I could not imagine what it must have been like to be in there.

Take care - Dave

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

2 Months Ago

That must have been some visit Dave. There have been improvements. Those Victorian prisons in my poe.. read more
Dave

2 Months Ago

I'm a student of history and I'm positive that Alcatraz, compared to the prisons of the Victorian er.. read more
Christine Anne Shaw

2 Months Ago

Many thanks Dave.
Hypnotically catchy with great imagination held within this nice, tight, deep, intriguing tale of a scary true to life tale. That did happen in the past. Nowadays jails give them televisions, phone calls and even sexual visitation rights. Far from those straight to the point tortures times.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

2 Months Ago

Thank you Dawn. Yes prisons these days aren't anything like the hell holes back in Victorian times. .. read more
Well this certainly got my old historical grey cells spinning. From 1844 until 2013 a lot of history has occurred behind the prison’s walls. There have been calls for the prison building to be preserved as a tourist attraction, and Reading Council have confirmed that they intend to retain the complex (it is a listed building). In June 2014 it was proposed that the site could be converted into a theatre venue. However, in November 2015 it was announced by Chancellor George Osborne and Justice Secretary Michael Gove that the site was to be sold to housing developers.

In May 2016 it was announced that the former prison would be made available as an arts venue for the Reading 2016 Year of Culture programme.

By the way - the dedicatee of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’ was one Charles Thomas Wooldridge, a Royal Horse Guard trooper who murdered his wife.

What a great share... well done!

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

2 Months Ago

Many thanks yous Phill for an awesome review. You have certainly done your homework. We wait with in.. read more
dark life of HMP. loved inclusion of ghosts.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

2 Months Ago

Dark places indeed duck. Bad enough nowadays but far worse back then when Oscar Wilde was incarcerat.. read more
Blimey.. now that has got to be one helluva place to visit.. wouldn't fancy spending a night on me own there..... where are they gonna lock all the apple scrumpers and cherry knockers now our Chris eh?... Another great truly atmospheric and historically factual write..... chillin stuff indeed... N

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

2 Months Ago

Possible arts centre Neville. Thank you.

Chris
Neville Pettitt

2 Months Ago

pleasure.. N
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Gee
Good morning ma'am :)
Well written ( the norm) and for me a wee bit educational, never new Oscar Wilde was imprisoned there.
You seem to have a never ending stash of these little gems Christine :))
Hope all is well with you in chilly Berks.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

2 Months Ago

Good morning Gee. Yes it's chilly. I don't go out of my way to be educational (lol). I just write ab.. read more
Gee

2 Months Ago

Sleep, overrated if you ask me. Gonna get plenty of that when the Grim fella comes a callin'.
.. read more
Reading the poem took me down those dark dungeons and dark deathly galleys. I especially love the line on ghosts unready for goodbyes. Yet those cells, those walls are so steeped in the murky past, I feel they should be preserved as part of our cultural heritage. A very informative and interesting write, Chris!

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

2 Months Ago

Thank you Ditzy. Hopefully, it will be become an arts centre. That is the talk. We have a new kitten.. read more
Dhara_Ditzy Kat

2 Months Ago

Ohhh. Kittens are so adorable, Chris. Give her a furry toy for me! Say I said hello and to keep warm.. read more
I liked the ryhme and description you gave. It was a nice poem!

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

2 Months Ago

Thank you JungLee. I owe you some reviews. I'll make a point of checking your work out later today.<.. read more
JungLee

2 Months Ago

Alrgiht thank you c:
Excellent foray into a philosophical topic, Chris.

I think prisons can still be quite inhuman and still do a pretty poor job of reforming, but I think we are often too fond of quick solutions to pursue policies that might offer more long-term benefits for everyone. A deeper look into other aspects of society itself might yield some answers.

But, those are complex issues and questions. It’s great to see a poem that approaches the subject in the way you have. It leaves the door open for readers to form their own thoughts.

The first ballad I read when I started writing and was Oscar’s on Reading Gaol. Still something I aspire to. It was a friend in the UK that recommended it to me, and it took me a little bit to realize that ‘gaol’ was the American ‘jail’. One of the many things I’ve learned through the study of poetry, haha.

We have many prisons here that are said to be haunted. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

Great work, as ever, Chris.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Christine Anne Shaw

2 Months Ago

I really appreciate your reviews Eilis. I deliberately left these lines open enough to allow readers.. read more

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Added on January 6, 2019
Last Updated on January 6, 2019

Author

Christine Anne Shaw
Christine Anne Shaw

Berkshire, United Kingdom



About
So happy to be here at Writerscafe, have received such a lovely warm welcome. I am looking forward to reading lots of poetry and getting to know many of the talented poets here. Happy to review, but h.. more..

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