Monday, 27 February 2012

Sackcloth and Ashes

Lent has arrived, and with it, following the daubing of ashes on the foreheads of subscribers to the anglo-catholic traditions of Christianity, a season for which to repent of many hundred years of hard-wired hypocrisy that is The Church.  As the tale behind this Gown of Repentance suggests, men have got away with it for a long time. Women, on the other hand, have not. 

Those convicted of various offences by West Calder Kirk Session were required to appear before the congregation in this gown. Jonet Gothskirk appeared on successive Sundays for many months.’ There is no record of any punishment for William Murdoch.

A Prickly Issue 

Back in '77, when everyone wore brown,
and papered the lounge with paprika hessian,
William invented a word to describe
another unpleasant fibre;
that prickly, scratchy acrylic wool.

Called it “sprangie*.”

To wear a jumper, tank-top or cardigan
without a vest was a punishment
worse than wearing a sack-cloth gown.
But William never committed adultery.
It’s the women you need to watch.

To pronounce this word, think of a mixture of tangerine and spongy.

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