church_and_tree-claire-fullerMy father laid the bricks. My brother mixed the mortar.

My mother baked the bread for the cloistered order.

My sister sang the hymns. Her lover strolled the garden.

Unlike the saint, she did not receive pardon.

He told a lie. The lie took hold.

Torment and treachery began to unfold.

Her child was born under harvest moon.

The hounds of hell began to croon.

They said she was a witch. She couldn’t be his wife.

He said Hale Marys for the rest of his life.

All because passion had scorched his soul

For unholy DNA they torched her whole.


It’s that time again. Friday Fictioneers are here. Thanks to Claire Fuller for this week’s photo prompt. You may want to check out the Salem Witch Trials.

**note** hail vs. Hale: see comments 🙂

27 thoughts on “The Clergy Curse

  1. This post certainly burned brightly – well done!

  2. artsifrtsy says:

    Wow – wonderful. Really well done! BTW, been meaning to say that I love the new masthead. Great pano!

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      THANKS! The new photo was taken by my loyal follower with his iPhone. It’s better than any of the shots I got. No offense Nikon. 😉

      1. artsifrtsy says:

        Sometimes that pano tool on the iphone can do amazing things.

  3. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Honie,

    I saved your story for the end. Was not disappointed. Still waiting for the answer to the Hale vs. hail Mary question. This was a pleasant surprise of a composition. Wonderful rhythm to it.



    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Hale vs. hail. see comment below. Sometimes my thinking gets in the way of my writing.
      Your comments are very much appreciated. I hope when my stories don’t measure up you will let me know that as well. These challenges are my attempt to improve my writing.

  4. Dear Honie,

    I’m a little behind getting to everyone this week. Glad I made it over here. I’m not a big fan of rhyming poetry unless it’s undeniably well, dare I say, executed. I’m impressed. Bravo!



    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Executed! HA! That’s terrific. I don’t know what is up with the poetry lately. I had to go back and re-write some of my work in progress because it sounded like a nursery rhyme. I’ve got it on the brain right now. As always, thank you for commenting.

  5. Gorgeous! But did you mean “Hail Mary”?

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      I thought about that. Yes, it’s spelled like frozen stones cast down from the heavens. I was trying to convey that the priest went mad praying for that kinder, gentler punishment the self-righteous once imposed on women. Stoning.
      Think I should change it?

      1. Nope. Mean what you say and say what you mean. Don’t worry about dense readers like myself.

        1. Honie Briggs says:

          Hey lady. You are not dense. I appreciate your comments.
          As an aside:
          Edward Everette Hale was a cleric who wrote “The Man Without a Country”. Which this lover certainly was after the dust settled and his transgression caught up with him. Too much? It all gets jumbled in there sometimes. I suppose I could have just said I spelled it wrong and been done with it. 🙂

  6. JKBradley says:

    I caught the rhythm and rhyme right away, which made me think if children in a round holding hands and circling as they all chanted this ditty together.

    Nicely done.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Oh, that is an excellent take. I had not thought about children reciting it, but it does have that sing-songy quality. Very interesting. I recently heard of a program in Oakland,CA schools where students composed rap lyrics to learn about historic events and scientific discoveries. This could be a rap about the Salem Witch Trials…or a cautionary sex ed class…or a lesson in church politics. HA!

  7. Kwadwo says:

    Love the rhyme and the story.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Thank you very much. I’m so glad you did.

  8. Terrible, yet so truthfully told. I am afraid in those times I would have burned right next to her.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      I probably would have been beheaded for helping her escape. I can hear the judge now, “Chop off her head! It’s the only way we will shut her up.” And you know, that’s what it would take.

  9. Sandra says:

    Very explicit! Well done.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      My first explicit FF post! How was the river?

  10. Oh, so tragic. I’m loving the poetry, Honie. This is such a rich, complex tale. My favorite, “Her child was born under harvest moon. The hounds of hell began to croon.” It’s so witchy!

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      One of many tragic periods in our history. Yeah, I don’t know what has gotten into my writing lately with all this poetry. Must be the heat. It was 102 here yesterday, Gah!

  11. JackieP says:

    Ouch. In those times I would no doubt have been burned also. So tragic.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      I’m sure many of us would have, Jackie.

  12. lewis cave says:

    A tragic love story, I like it!

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Yeah, a lover who loved his status a little too much. There was certainly no love for the poor sister. Tragic is right. Thanks for your comment.

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