The Pillory by Craig Kurtz

Ah, the pillory’s so much fun,
that is, unless you’ve been in one.

That scamp who scoffed at our bylaws
will now hear censure on his flaws;
the culprit’s stuck in place, secure,
there’s no ignoring our lecture;
in times when roguery’s afoot,
how nice one knave to just stay put;
oh sure, the pansies all complain
and call this practice inhumane;
it’s not so ‘constitutional’
but it saves us time and trouble;
the pillory’s no big issue
unless it hap to befall you;
our quarry quakes from tongues that wag
but their hands can’t raise a white flag;
our lib’ral fingers shake at them,
you got an itch? not our problem;
if you vow to be conformist
we’ll let you out, how is your wrist?;
the thrust of this ain’t punishment,
it’s ‘rehabilitation,’ gent;
we’ll have a sharing circle when
you’ve become a samaritan;
humiliation’s not our aim,
although the town’s here all the same;
it only seems folks come for sport,
in faith, they’re here to show support;
sure, there’s some picnic baskets there,
but it’s mainly to show we care;
we want our kindred to belong,
a few tomatoes can’t be wrong;
we want our brethren to conform,
don’t mind the sputum thunderstorm;
it’s billed as a town festival
to squash the individual;
‘though it draws crowds like a clambake,
we do it for the victim’s sake.

Ah, yes! The pillory’s requisite,
until the day it’s you in it.

© Craig Kurtz 2017

Finding the 21st century obsolete, Craig Kurtz versifies Restoration plays, illustrated by Anni Wilson. Excerpts appear in Bacopa Literary Review, Dalhousie Review, Dream Catcher and Straylight Literary Magazine. Visit for particulars.

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