Fear or Respect*

Rachael Joseph

The following poem  shows that to fear is not the same as to 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 marks 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, that 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 you earn and if it comes from fear,
It’s not the same.

Tales From A West Indian Childhood (printed  by Morgan’s Eye Press 2020)

Available from www.rachealjosephpoet.co.uk

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- *Material should not be published in another periodical before at least one year has elapsed since publication in Whispering Dialogue. *أن لا يكون النص قد تم نشره في أي صحيفة أو موقع أليكتروني على الأقل (لمدة سنة) من تاريخ النشر. *All content © 2021 Whispering Dialogue or respective authors and publishers, and may not be used elsewhere without written permission. جميع الحقوق محفوظة للناشر الرسمي لدورية (هَمْس الحِوار) Whispering Dialogue ولا يجوز إعادة النشر في أيّة دورية أخرى دون أخذ الإذن من الناشر مع الشكر الجزيل

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