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