St Thomas Buys a Hairshirt.

Now, Thomas, what’s your fancy?  Mitre, cope
Or chasuble? —  Show me your suits of hair.
— We’ve boar’s head bristle, camel, horse or bear
Scratchy as cats, harsh hide of antelope
That grates you till you’re holier than the pope,
Hedgehog for fast days — No, I’d rather wear
Matting alive with crawly things that tear,
Prognosticating martyrdom, I hope. —
— This pre-fouled fabric, reeking to the sky
Will send King Henry screaming to be rid
Of noisome priest: “Hew, hack him, knights,” he’ll bid,
“Stench suffocates me, make the gobbets fly!”
— I’ll take’t: each louse-prick shall provoke a prayer
For that proud King who scorns God’s saints to spare.

Brian S. Lee

If you have any comments on this poem,  Brian S. Lee would be pleased to hear from you.