I sit with curling tongs

I sit with curling tongs

Straightening out the kink that leads to my despair

I find myself transported as a 16th century compere

My finger clicks a search engine

Feminists of sound enraged mind and tongue

The communis rixatrix or common scold

Persecuted for scolding

though married women featured most frequently

while widows were rarely labelled scolds

Nagging arias of my womxns voice

Heat rises in me


the cucking chair would soon become the ducking chair

the cuckold the character that Shakespeare held dear

A scold’s bridle muzzles my mouth

Parades me through my village, my town

I spoke up, I called out, I stood firm


With a jolt

a hissing sneer

sees me sitting with burning hair


“The way of punishing scolding women is pleasant enough. They fasten an armchair to the end of two beams twelve or fifteen feet long, and parallel to each other, so that these two pieces of wood with their two ends embrace the chair, which hangs between them by a sort of axle, by which means it plays freely, and always remains in the natural horizontal position in which a chair should be, that a person may sit conveniently in it, whether you raise it or let it down. They set up a post on the bank of a pond or river, and over this post they lay, almost in equilibrio, the two pieces of wood, at one end of which the chair hangs just over the water. They place the woman in this chair and so plunge her into the water as often as the sentence directs, in order to cool her immoderate heat”

Alice Morse Earle (1896). “The Ducking Stool”. Curious Punishments of Bygone Days. Archived from the original on 17 January 2007. Retrieved 18 January 2007.




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