You know the place; you were its prize exhibit,
and flailed there in the wind upon the gibbet.
They came there east and west, and north and south,
to gaze on your remains. They marked your mouth,
the way it sagged. They came, the lame, the lost,
trudging your final highway, white with frost.
Some led their children through your moral shallows,
and pointed to the shadows round the gallows.

Yet you were born, like anything. Your mother
sprinkled your infant head like any other,
and blessed your journey. Nothing seemed absurder
then, that you should turn your hand to murder;
it seemed enough that, dabbling in a stream,
you hung your head and hankered, in a dream,
for other worlds. No sign there, in that morning,
that you’d hang at this crossroads as a warning.

Skin and bone and rags. Your soul’s been banished.
And now, where four roads meet, your name has vanished.

From the book Rime Present