Isobel Gowdie, Aldearn 1662

Neil Rhind


A cottar’s wife knew naught but cares.
An untold life bound round by chores,
Her thoughts alone could slip the door.
Gowdie shall go into a hare.

Renouncing Christ, a woman, bare
Of baptism pronounced a vow.
A new, inhuman master now.
Gowdie shall go into a hare.

Her flight of fancy not by air
But grounded. Gone to earth. She ran
His errands, bound still to a man.
Gowdie shall go into a hare.

Her new skin known because men snared
Her tongue with trials. Just as, alarmed
By dogs, she’d be harmed when transformed.
Gowdie shall go into a hare.



Neil Rhind came to Edinburgh to study literature, but they made him leave university after passing his viva. He is a previous contributor to The Scottish Literary Review, The International Review of Scottish Studies, the International Journal of Scottish Literature, and other publications that don’t read like variations on the same three words. Although most of those do have “Druid” on them somewhere. He was recently anthologised in Spectral Lines: Poems About Scientists [Alternating Current Press], and served as Bard in Residence for the Beltane Fire Society.