Fear or Respect
I can't forget the whipping stick, whistling as it struck,
the sting it gave, like ants that bite and leave a burning pain.
a leather strap leaving its mark as bright red welts on soft brown skin.
Fear pulsing through every vein, whenever you appeared.
I can't forgive the Lord above; you called on him to give you strength,
strength to raise your hand against a child;
The punishments that were meant to teach obedience and respect,
though as a child I had no choice but to obey.
I am an adult now and you have long since passed away.
I want to say, I no longer fear, but memories still linger.
I know I should forget, but I cannot.
It saddens me to find no gesture in my heart that can forgive.
Respect is something that you earn and if it comes from fear
it's not the same.
(Tales From A West Indian Childhood published 2020 Morgan's Eye Press)