(Another) Woman Sentenced to Death by Stoning by George Held

How appropriate is death
By stoning to punish adultery,
That sin against social cohesion;
How fitting that the flock itself
Collectively carry out the sentence
On the egregious one outside the tightly drawn
Theocratic circle.

How strong the urge
Down deep to cast
The first stone, to hear the thunk
Of rock on trunk or skull
Of the adulteress,
Who had the gall to let
Pleasure enter her gates.

How wretched we are
When it comes to crime
And punishment, how sheepishly
We follow the law,
How hungrily we want to see
A sinner stoned, to hear
Her bones crack, see flesh split

Open like a ripe pomegranate,
Watch her blood seep
Onto the dusty street,
And how fervently
We thank God
For our complicity.


George Held is a seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee, George Held publishes widely both online and in print. His forthcoming books, both 2013, are NEIGHBORS TOO, a sequel to his illustrated children’s book, and CULLING: NEW & SELECTED NATURE POEMS.