The Whipping

The old woman across the way
     is whipping the boy again
and shouting to the neighborhood
     her goodness and his wrongs.

Wildly he crashes through elephant ears,
     pleads in dusty zinnias,
while she in spite of crippling fat
     pursues and corners him.

She strikes and strikes the shrilly circling
     boy till the stick breaks
in her hand. His tears are rainy weather
     to woundlike memories:

My head gripped in bony vise
     of knees, the writhing struggle
to wrench free, the blows, the fear
     worse than blows that hateful

Words could bring, the face that I
     no longer knew or loved . . .
Well, it is over now, it is over,
     and the boy sobs in his room,

And the woman leans muttering against
     a tree, exhausted, purged--
avenged in part for lifelong hidings
     she has had to bear.

by Robert Hayden

Comments (8)

Well thought-out and elegantly penned.
Insightful, and a reminder to be sparing with our ire and assumed superiority.
But remember never assume the author is the speaker
Greenwolfe is a nice guy personally but intellectually he is a idiot and his 'comment' is absolutely ridiculous. I won't even bother to dismantle it, it's too absurd for even that and it should be removed from this page by management. -LP
Shame on adults who are too brutal with their children or nephews or grandchildren etc! Revenging for life's pains on a poor child? because he is weaker than you are, so that you can do whatever you want with him? ! Heaven forbid!
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