Les Dernières Heures: The Last Hours – Anne Pia

Les Dernières Heures: The Last Hours

Nails in your head 
at the hammering that went on for days,
as if you didn’t know about the scaffold, 
about the blade, 
and its journey, and the horseman, 
and the call that finally came.  

But it was the vivid silence that announced it
the warm skank and stillness of air
crowding creep of the walls 
the sugared sweetness of your sweat.. 
that primed you..
assemble your mourners,
etch them on parchment 
rouse priests and absolutions 
cling tight 
to your warm wooden cross 
as you lie at last 

Resplendent, unaided, 
you walked
short steps to Golgotha,
two axemen, 
your final fumbling grooms.


….Seton Palace now Seton Castle, a refurbished private dwelling, is where Mary retreated to as the guest of George Seton, friend and Master of the Royal Household. She danced here, held court, played golf and archery in the company of Darnley and subsequently, Bothwell. It was at Seton that they spent their last night before the surrender at Carberry Hill….

In solid air and brittle sunshine
we skirted the castle low on the landscape
glimpsed grey walls and peeping turrets;
a sudden, whirling North Coast gust
loosened long-limbed branches
spread them high and wide 
and set them free,
their leaves a light footfall on the meadow;
brought sea-mist too
and a trace of full-skirted girls at play
rings and handstands and daisy chains, 
a whiff of love
lingering still,
trailing across the fields

About the contributor

Anne Pia is based in Edinburgh, a language graduate with a Doctorate in Education(2008) and an interest in language, dialogue and identity. She started writing seriously in 2011 and has a history of writing for different audiences. Anna has been published in the Times Educational Supplement many times, the Scottish Educational Review and other academic and professional journals.. As an HM Inspector of Education she has written and edited national reports for a range of audiences.

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