Mary Rowlandson's Removes

By Rhodes, Suzanne Underwood | Anglican Theological Review, Spring 2013 | Go to article overview

Mary Rowlandson's Removes


Rhodes, Suzanne Underwood, Anglican Theological Review


"When others are sleeping, mine eyes are weeping. "

- The Narrative of the Captivity and the Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson

In the beginning she was called often

to relate scenes of blood and flame

from the Tenth of February,

with the goodwives crying to hear her tell

of her dead child turned under barren dirt

and left alone on a hill as she was led away -

and how she marked with scripture each remove:

the camp of snow and fever, the swamp of sinking,

the ground where Praying Tom dangled white fingers,

the begging from fire to fire for any niche against

the frozen black void she read as inscrutable love,

for her mind, forged on Calvin, would not bend

though sometimes, in the starved light before day

she would hear the child pleading for water,

pleading from just over the ridge,

and she would cry out, her wits unlashed

as stars withdrew their nets,

but her legs failed her, snared by sleep.

(What mercy, she would later say,

to quell her madcap flight and savage fate. …

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