Brian Kiteley

Introduction to Kiteley's Poems


Monarch of Hampshire County

My name is Israel Williams and I am confined to a cell in the log gaol in Northampton for a supposedly treasonous letter I penned to an English supplier. I suffer from the palsy too much to write this myself, so my son Israel puts these words on paper. My wife Sarah died in her sleep three years ago, and much of the disastrous rebellion I have witnessed since then has not made the sense it would have made were she in her chair in the kitchen near the bee-hive oven. I freely admit I addressed the letter I am convicted of to an English ship resting in New York Harbor, but this was simply to achieve communication with one of the regular suppliers for our shop in Hatfield. I was right at the moment to surmise that this war would soon be won by the King, though I see now that the tide has turned. I am not a traitor. Nor am I Monarch of Hampshire County, as I was once called. The mob rule that drives this immoral rebellion overturns those elements of justice our people do have in their favor. I can see out between these logs what passes for righteous behavior in town. I once opposed the Crown's pine laws that preserved the tallest white pines for Navy ship masts, in order to build such walls as these with the best lumber in the valley. I do not rue any other earlier opinions. In another confinement, the mob made us run circles, while my daughter Eunice lay dying in Pittsfield. I signed an agreement I do regret, but it was under duress. My many infirmities behoove me to consult my ease and such comfort in private life which permits me to stay on, but I do not foresee the day I can amble, with my son's aid, up the walk of the old Hatfield home. I wish I believed in ghosts, for then I might have tangible evidence of my wife. I will not hurry this life on, but I am eager to catch up with Sarah beyond, hear the news, listen to her wisdoms and straints, be told where to put my shoes and my pipe.

From The River Gods

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