Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 162: Inchcolm

Excesses of the Prior of Inchcolm
Deposed from office for his “many and unbearable excesses”, 1224

A monk is illuminating
aspects of the deadlier sins.
The Prior is much in his mind.
The blue snake twined
round the capital of Pride
follows his long smooth shape.
Something of his in the smirk
of the Scarlet Whore.

The Prior doesn’t inspect the work.
He strides freely, he is not afraid
of the hellfires they resentfully
score down for him. Along this road
he will elevate self and soul: to see
his priority shining out beyond
the stony shape of the cloistered island.

Peter Daniels

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