(18/8/1947 / Aberdeen)

2 Prison Poems

The Cat o Nine Tails
Stretched on a frame in the bathhouse
Ankles and wrists lashed hard
Rab the cat was sentenced
His back to be flayed and scarred
By 20 ripping lashes
The cat o nine tails swung
Its tongues bit deep in his shoulders
And blood from his back was wrung
For back in the 1940s
The birch, noose, cat as well
Were weighed in the scales of justice
As punishment's arsenal


Scotland's Gulag: Peterhead Prison 1987
A riot, a rampage, an explosion of human rage
Fifty hardened criminals seized D block
Anarchy loosed from its cage

Determined to leave their mark
Murderers, rapists, knifers
Bedding and bed pans wrecked
Knuckles and skulls bruised black
Jackie Stuart, officer, snatched
Fifty six years old, hauled up on the open roof

And then, four days of terror tactics
The cons, in balaclavas made of rags
Barricades, booby-traps, flung slates, aerobatics
The hostage, leashed like a dog
Paraded before the press. A hood on his head
A blade at his throat. Cruel torture antics

Fifteen minutes overturned the odds
Twenty SAS men in fatigues, gas masked
Flash-bang canisters, with cudgels
Ladders, ropes and high explosives
Rescued the warder, the horror passed

The day given back to order,
The foghorn wail
The crash of the heaving waves
Tons of water, pummelling sand and rock

User Rating: 5,0 / 5 ( 9 votes ) 23

Comments (23)

Brutal and graphic! Congrats on poem of the day!
A poem from the edge of human existence, which is an advantage. My only comment is that you use extreme, emotive language perhaps too much-' ripping lashes', cat 'o nine tails', 'back flayed and scarred' - where moderate words could have achieved more. 'Less is more'. Still an interesting poem.
The crash of the heaving waves Tons of water, pummelling sand and rock great great write great 10++++++
Great stuff, young lady. Also, congrats on this poem being chosen as 'POD. Big ups!
Having been in a number of riots in my youth in Florida They were always race riots and no where to hide. That was 44 years ago. The politics in prisons in America are designed this way On purpose. In Florida nearly one percent of the population die yearly In this day and age it's scary. Thanks for reminding us that there are two side's to most Of the riots. And congrats on your poem selection for a day. James McLain 🎸
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