The Embers of Maria van Beckum

This was to be the last time I wake
To the cries of innocent men accused of heresy.
Driven mad by death of will, stripped of
All dignities that empower us to fight for life.
Oddly as my final hours are upon me
This tiny cell feels like home.
The bitter wind sent by Norse gods
Flood granite vents flowing fresh air into the grottos.
Arctic July air has inspired hope,
That the very breath of Thor would take me.
Nature proves cruel by affording me an immune system.
Nightly I am kept warm in cold sweat from horrific memories
Seeing my son die in my arms pleading innocence to the Inquisitor.
He did not like having his transparent conclusions questioned.
No matter how I was interrogated
Nothing can quite subdue a woman like the loss of a child.
Now my malnourished self fears not a church, willing to sacrifice the pure.
With diminished body mass I devolve into something unlike myself.
Haggard as I must appear I know in my heart
This being has lived with pure intent.
If there were to be a final judgement whatever presiding deity
(If there were one) would surely acknowledge my existence fairly.
At realising this the present, presents itself as hell.
Knowledge and logic lost in fire, never to emerge on Phoenix wings.
This world of wilful ignorance led by social climbers
As well as men who vow to find a place for every soul.
They are the self appointed dictators of morality
Setting divine law and editing heavenly legislation to further benefit the lawless.
Pointing at me with bloody hands, coming to conclusions without trial.
Setting an example of me to those who oppose dictatorship
Sending a message that progress is not wanted
And logic should remain a fable.
This is a world of man who invents and re-invents God
Not in their own image but in an effort to be God of something.
In saying so I am my own god, after all we make our own world
Each having individual power over fates current.
Today I shall embrace my weak audience, set upon my Frankincense flesh.
Dignified and strong in hope my transformation
Into cinders spread an impressionable ember.
In meditation I welcome fire, basking in the warmth of nature
Knowing it is mankind’s tyranny over the elements that are responsible for my departure.
Alas I go with my head held high, not towards the heavens
But in dignity knowing I lived honest and unflinching.

The Embers of Maria van Beckum


Trott Park, Australia

  • Artist

Artist's Description

Maria van Beckum was a Antibaptist during the Spanish Inquisition in The Netherlands. An Antibaptist was someone who used Roman Caholic teachings and came to their own conclusions, which in that time was rather sensative.

In being so she was sentanced to death in 1544 with her sister Ursula. There is a etching in the famous book called The Martyrs Mirror" of their sentancing that inspired this.

She was so peaceful and content with the idea of death where alot of other etchings in this book were of people struggling (including her sister.)

This inspired me to think about how does one accept death when clear injustice is evident? How would such times of opression affect someones will to live when death is immenant?

Believe me trying to empathise with this woman was tough stuff. Now I feel tired and a little sick, but you must suffer for your art hey :D

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