The Beating

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I witnessed,

the other day,

the beating of a child

carried out in rage

mercilessly, cruelly

and brutally

as I watched

from high above

on the highway

waiting for a bus.

 

Maybe six, possibly seven

no more,

A little girl

playing with her doll

in the safety of her yard

who chose to ignore

the demands of a woman

sweeping the patio.

 

The woman struck

with viperous ferocity,

swinging her broom

overhead and down

upon the head and shoulders

of that small, fragile body,

running,

crying,

trying to escape,

as over and over and over again,

the broom came down

until the handle broke

and she continued

with the stick.

 

As the scene below played out,

I watched, breathless,

numb with shock,

as if it were

some surreal sequence

in a movie.

Detached,

separate from myself,

Seeing all

until the story was told.

 

And thus the bus rolls on

and so do I,

thinking of that poor child,

so unfortunate

and unloved,

as my numbness

dissipates

and anger blossoms

in it’s place

and the suffering

of that little girl

and my own suffering

from so many years ago

fuses into one.

 

“How could you!”

I scream in silence

as something breaks

within my breast.

“How dare you!”

I cry without a sound

Releasing, once again,

an ancient fury,

suppressed

so long ago.

 

And in my mind

I punish all

who would perpetrate

such hideous travesties

upon the innocent

and devine.

I tear the God

of  my childhood prayers

from the comfort of his throne

in his serene and complacent heaven.

I slash him

into thousands of pieces,

having twice betrayed.

 

You say:

It’s the child’s fault

for choosing to disobey.

She brought it upon

herself.

Or the child,

in some previous and forgotten life,

was herself,

merciless and cruel,

causing so much pain

to others.

 

“BULLSHIT!”

 

You say:

The woman

is a victim of violence,

and thus,

is not to blame.

 

“BULLSHIT!”

 

You say:

But does the woman not

harm herself

as much as the child,

for in time,

it will be she

who shall be denied

the love from the child

that could have been

her healing salve.

 

“BULLSHIT!”

 

If I could prevent

such things as this

from ever

happening again,

I would rip the beating heart

from my chest

and smash it

on the ground.

I would tear the flesh

from my body

and throw it on the fire.

I would blast the consciousness

from my mind

Into a billion, dying particles

of blazing ash.

 

How does one forgive

such monstrous human parents

or uncaring Gods

as these,

who would foster fear

instead of love.

 

If only

all could be undone.

If only

nothing had ever occurred.

-no crime commited

-no pain suffered

-no trust or love lost

-no child betrayed.

If only

the universe

had never been created,

nothing into nothing,

before,

now

and forever,

anything,

to avoid this thing.

 

I ask,

Why does pain

yet persue?

For what purpose

does suffering

still persist?

And I ask,

Who’s voice is this I hear?

Is it the child’s

or my own,

so near?

 

And how is a lesson learned,

except by failure

to perceive.

And how can empathy

or compassion occur,

unless the pain

is known?

 

So as I look out

the window of the bus,

I see

the trees and the grasses,

all the houses and people,

all of creation,

and nothing has changed.

There is still love and pain,

ecstasy and suffering,

all intertwined,

all still here.

The good and the bad,

enmeshed,

unfolding

and passing

 

So I cradle the child

within the healing heart

of one.

I embrace the anger

that resides

so deep within.

For what else remains?

And who

is left

to ask?

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