Treasure Island

Terry O'Leary


Another Cruel Link in their Chain


1. Beginnings

Her babe was her joy, such a beautiful boy,
and he suckled her breast till the end...
The Massa sought cash, bestowed mammy a lash,
sold her babe to a gentrified friend
It flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain

With mammy not there, Sammy dared not to dare
but to bide near the edge of the night
But nevertheless one must always outguess
or absorb burning stings of the bite
It flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain

Though learning the rules in the shadows of fools
as he grew to a leery lean lad
He often defied but he never once cried
although whipped at the post whene’er bad
It flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain


2. Youth

The cotton gin broke and nobody spoke,
so the Massa said “BENNY’S TO BLAME”
But Sammy said ‘No... Massa, jus caint be so,
no ’tain’t Benny, ’tain’t Benny’s sore name’
It flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain

“LOOK, SEE IN HIS EYES HOW THAT N*G*** BOY LIES” –
- replied Sam ‘no I’s tellin da truth’
But daring to speak earned him scars for his cheek
and so blemished the bloom of his youth
It flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain

“THE COTTON GIN’S BROKE, AND THAT JUST AIN’T NO JOKE”
and he called upon Benny to pay
“WELL, BEN’LL NOW SWIM FROM THE END OF A LIMB”
just as Sam feared the Massa would say
It flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain

Dark faces soon blanched; Benny bended a branch
near the base of a broken oak tree
His body hung bare as it swung in the air
and the buzzards and crows shrieked with glee
It flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain


3. Flight

Sam’s feet were unclad, as befitting a lad
as alone as a stone in his path
So oft on the run neath the sly sliding sun
being followed and feeling god’s wrath
It flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain

Surrounded and caught brought his efforts to naught,
child in chains at the end of his trek
Winds wept as he went, with his spirit unbent,
a cold collar of steel ’round his neck
It flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain


4. Life

Sam grew to a man, branded ‘boy’ by the klan,
as they spat on the trail that he tread
If he raises his gaze or he wanders or strays
the pack promise to sever his head
It flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain

Once Sam found a wife who they ripped from his life,
yes along with the babe at her breast
(Was it simply their greed or by heaven decreed? ...)
well, with hindsight you might guess the rest
It flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain


5. Endings

From phantoms of fright neath the frail foggy night
Sammy soared as he fled to escape
He no longer crawled (heeding freedom that called)
through the darkness, a black hole agape
It flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain

Unleashed! Frenzied dogs hounding Sam through the bogs,
(baying beasts neath the bloody red moon)
White fangs intermeshed as they mangled his flesh,
freedom flayed through the pale afternoon
It flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain

Sam’s body was torn leaving little to mourn
but there’s really no need to despair
And there’s no need to cry for his spirit can’t die,
being borne by bound men everywhere
It flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain



EPITAPH

SAM
Revolt ed and clashed ’gainst the cruel leather lash
and broke free from the choke of the chain

EPILOGUE

Those parts of the past that we gaze at aghast
reveal harrowing questions quite plain -
Why people so free, just like you, just like me,
were so happy inflicting such pain?
Why we bask in the throes of humanity’s woes
while we wait while the tyrannies reign?
And I’m wondering too (’cause I don’t have a clue)
... might we each be a link in their chain?

Submitted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Edited: Saturday, January 04, 2014

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Comments about this poem (Another Cruel Link in their Chain by Terry O'Leary )

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  • Ellias Anderson (8/15/2013 6:22:00 AM)

    This is truly nice. i love how you define the incidents step by step. sometimes some cruel sequences happens that shouldn't happen at all. life consists of ups and downs. like an uneven immunity. but we should find the answers
    nice write (Report) Reply

  • Unwritten Soul (4/19/2013 11:09:00 PM)

    Truly, you did a very detail poem, meaning to discover, and i love the journey from early lines to last...You know no matter how lovely our life chain is it always hard to not link with the cruel hard time...we should never cry over that but keep it stronger as one_Soul (Report) Reply

  • James Urwin (2/10/2013 11:51:00 AM)

    Absoluntly brilliant...I never knew I could enjoy a poems flow so much, you are an insperation. (Report) Reply

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