A Thieving Primer by Scáth Beorh

A Thieving Primer

Set your sacrifice
in a quieter place
where the air blows evenly
across her face
so the glory burns loudly
for this dying race.

Put your sacrifice
in a solitary place.

No one knows the way
in which the hangéd man twists
in the wind
in the end
like a sinking ship lists
with the waves
and the knaves
and the hardtack and grist
and the cold
and the gold
and the quick-severed wrist.

No one sees the angle
of the dangling priest.

Set your sacrifice
in a darkening room
where the sleeper
breathes slowly
in an unfiltered gloom
and the cries of the children
who lie losing their souls
are not heard;
not a word,
not a scream in the cold,
not a whinny from the foal
who shall grow
into a nightmare
with your death as her goal.

Watch the tossing dreamer
when you enter his place
where he schemes
while he seems
to be sleeping in grace.
His ilk may now be waiting
for your glory tonight…
wicker man will not burn
wicked land will not yearn
wicked witch will not turn
to the flame, to the light.

Keep your bag of secrets filled
with your hope of glory land
robbed so stealthily and skilled
by the criminal brigand.

Slay not the sleeping one,
but have done with that dread,
only stealing death now
from the visionless head.

Murder opens borders
to possession and greed.

Gather hands from all lands;
gather then into bands
crying ‘Stand and deliver!’
drag the mandrake from the sand
where the man’s seed is sown,
where his hot tongue is thrown
from his mouth
to the south
with a jerk and a groan,
with a thrust and a moan,
with a skull and a bone
like a Golgothic koan.

Set your sacrifice
in a silent place
where the air blows evenly…
where her hair falls grievingly
across her face.


Scáth Beorh tells stories permeated with themes of violence, brutality, anguish, punishment, magical realism, and blurred lines between this and the afterlife. Sometimes veiled and at times more overt sarcasm about Christian values and moral inconsistencies underline an ingenious design behind the entertaining tales.


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haunting and horrific poetry and fiction since 2017

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