Iesu, trugarha wrthyf - last words of Richard Gwyn, catholic martyr, 1584
In death they spilled out like a truant’s take
from those schoolmaster’s pockets: Peter’s keys
notched from some hard keeping; a sky of crows,
their black wings drubbing his heart awake
though stubborn now it seemed it would not break
for all the hangman’s knocking; then the sixpence
he’d once pledged the state in deference
to his several crimes. Which little joke
next to his last words sticks in the throat,
that he called for mercy as his guts were drawn
who laughing once had goosed some prissy vicar
hectoring him from the court-cum-pulpit’s height.
For whose sake at last God sought to drown
death with his testament. Iesu, trugarha.