Terry O'Leary


Another Cruel Link In Their Chain - Poem by Terry O'Leary

1. Beginnings

Her babe was her joy, such a beautiful boy,
and he suckled her breast till the end.
The slaver sought cash, bestowed mammy a thrash,
sold her babe to a gentrified friend.
Yes, life 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.
Yet nevertheless one must always outguess
else absorb burning stings of the bite.
Yes, 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.
Yes, 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 ol' Massa said"BENNY'S TO BLAME".
But Sammy said ‘No...Massa, jus' cain't be so,
no 'tain't Benny, 'tain't Benny's sore name'.
Yes, 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 thus blemished the bloom of his youth.
Yes, 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:
"BENNY GOT NO EXCUSE, DRAPE HIS NECK WITH THE NOOSE",
just as Sam feared ol' Massa would say.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.

Black faces soon blanched as Ben bended a branch
near the base of a broken oak tree.
His body hung bare as it swung in the air
while the buzzards and crows shrieked with glee.
Yes, 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 the lad
(as alone as a stone in his path)
whenhe started to run neath the sly sliding sun
being followed and fearing God's wrath.
Yes, 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.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.

"FLOG THE BOY FROM HIS TOES TO THE TIP OF HIS NOSE"
- only so could a lesson be taught -
for to set an example, Sam's death might be ample
was what the ol' Massa first thought.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.

But since boughten at birth, Sam had proven his worth
so his loss would be too much to bear
and as Sam was a child the ol' Massa was mild,
said "ENOUGH" when Sam's back was laid bare.
Yes, 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 clan,
as they spat on the trails that he tread;
should he dare raise his gaze with a gander that strays
they'd be certain to sever his head.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.

Once Sam found a wife whom 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.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.


5. Destiny

From phantoms of fright neath the frail foggy night
Sammy soared as he fled to escape
and he no longer crawled (lady liberty called!)
through the darkness, a black hole agape.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.

Unleashed! Frenzied dogs hounded 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.
Yes, 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.
Yes, it flits like a flash, a lithe leathery lash,
yet another cruel link in their chain.



EPITAPH

SAM
Revo lted and clashed 'gainst the cruel leather lash
and broke free from the choke of their chain.



EPILOGUE

Those parts of the past that we gaze at aghast
reveal harrowing questions quite plain -

Why people quite free, just like you, just like me,
were so happy inflicting such pain?

Why we bask in the throes of humanity's woes
while the tyrants and tyrannies reign?

Why we sit back and watch, sometimes scratching our crotch,
as it happens again and again?

And I'm wondering too ('cause I don't have a clue) ,
might we each be a link in their chain?

Topic(s) of this poem: social comment

Form: Rictameter


Comments about Another Cruel Link In Their Chain by Terry O'Leary

  • Ellias Anderson Jr. (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

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  • 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

  • (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

  • Ruby Honeytip (2/9/2013 12:45:00 AM)


    Terry O'Leary! ! This is a work of art. Unbelievable (Report) Reply

Read all 4 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Poem Edited: Sunday, April 22, 2018


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