cedar grove

This week’s poem addresses difficult subject matter: child abuse.

As a father of two amazing young women, I cannot fathom the depravity or cruelty it takes to hurt a precious child. Physically or emotionally. To hurt any living, loving thing.

It angers me, and I think that anger comes through with the narrator’s final revenge in the last stanza. That wish for some semblance of control, the last wicked laugh, perhaps some sense of liberation or empowerment.

I hope this poem speaks to your heart. If you are in an abusive situation, I pray you find the courage to escape. Or if you know someone being abused, I pray you take action to help them.

Please share your thoughts and feelings in the Comments section below.

-PS Conway ☘ ☘ ☘

☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘

cedar grove

fenceposts mark the boundary

where the cedar grove once grew

now milled and turned

to control the land

to suit your jailor’s purpose

aged bloodstains course like veins

down the woodgrain

so much pain

contained in those loathe newels

each vicious lash a memory preserved

for perverse posterity’s sake

childhood erased in that cedar grove

no beating too great

blood offerings served

to assuage your savage rage

in your cruel kingdom

in that timbered cage

your dying wish denied

no cherished coffin supplied

from the final planks of cedar

instead your bare corpse decays

in an unmarked dirt grave

just outside that fence

8 comments

  1. Love the revenge!!! I, also, love the imagery in the lines, “aged bloodstains course like veins down the woodgrain so much pain,” You really brought out the emotions of physical abuse. I’d know. I was abused.

  2. I know you’re depicting a fenced graveyard, but when I read the first stanza I was picturing a cedar house where the abuse happened. A child’s home should be a sanctuary but this one is sadly not. I personally know an abuser who died recently. We planned to piss on his grave but now don’t even care enough to see it.

    1. Let em rot, Naomi! Fuck em, I say… too harsh? Maybe but still really appreciate you sharing your thoughts on the poem!! Cheers m’friend 🖤🌹🙏🍷

  3. I find it to be dark, horrifying and traumatic to even read it. Never abused myself. Very happy, loving parents and family. Maybe revenge is fitting but it serves nobody really. The survivor of that awful childhood deserves peace, love and kindness for the rest of their days. So sorry

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Fiona. The graphic nature of the poem was intentional but certainly isn’t for everyone… that said, the subject matter of child abuse is exactly what art (including poetry) must stand against. Our own delicate sensitivities should never be the excuse for ignoring it.

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