Lynn W. Petty

Gold Star - 5,016 Points (3/29/28 / Newport Beach, California)

Appalled - Poem by Lynn W. Petty

I gasped at what I held in my two hands.
My son had handed me the leather whip,
A bullwhip, five feet long, a master used
To subjugate his slaves unto his will.
And then, he handed me the branding irons,
Which heated to a red-hot glow were used
To brand a human as a master's own.
I felt disgust, appalled, to think they scorched
A person's brow, or seared a woman's breast
To indicate a master's ownership
Of human beings. Slaves were classified
As lower than the cattle in the field,
Who lived in quarters, a degree above,
What masters would provide for their prize pigs.
Slave girls were tagged as 'breeders, ' bred like dogs,
To bind in servitude their newborn child.
A slave was valued by his 'use, ' not by
His human value. He was bought and sold
Upon an auction block, with heifers, hogs
And brooder mares, like chattel on a farm.
Denied all self-respect and dignity,
Through burning indignation, slaves maintained
An inner purpose which prevailed despite
The efforts to debase them less than swine.
What was the mastic causing them to live
When death was far their better choice than life?
An old black man advised me of the cause.
'There was a bond of faith they found within
Their gospel, where they heard the Word of God,
Both sung and spoken from the church lectern.
A basic trust that God would elevate
Them from their desperate depravation. They
Endured because of those who were to come,
The future generations, whom they hoped
Could rise above the level, which the slaves
Themselves then lived. Belief blazed up like fire
Through their religion. An awakening,
Had lighted the dark caves of their deep grief,
Ignited from the embers of their dreams.'

Topic(s) of this poem: slavery

Form: Free Verse


Poet's Notes about The Poem

Appalled by what I held in my hand. To think of what the slave endured was beyond imagination. My son built a slave museum which he took on tour. It contained whips, branding irons, chains, and all sorts of ungodly things to subjugate a living person.

Comments about Appalled by Lynn W. Petty

  • Bri Edwards (6/19/2016 12:31:00 AM)


    i wonder about the slave museum. where did it go? where is it now? was it free to visit? was it popular? etc.

    i have read some bad stuff about slaves and masters. but i've read that some masters were much more
    humane towards their slaves, if you can imagine a humane slave master.

    of course, we have heard that George Washington, Revolutionary War general and first President of the U.S.A. and other leaders in America's early days were owners of slaves. it was widely accepted apparently, as the poem mentions, that slaves were classified as lower than the cattle in the field (or at least lower orders of animals from the white race of humans) .

    if a belief in God helped some slaves to endure their lives of labor and misuse, then good for them.

    thanks, Lynn

    bri :)
    bri :)
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  • Terry Craddock (1/24/2016 3:05:00 PM)


    this poem is exceptional, to come from

    'I felt disgust, appalled, to think they scorched
    A person's brow, or seared a woman's breast
    To indicate a master's ownership
    Of human beings. Slaves were classified
    As lower than the cattle in the field, '

    the horrible truth artfully expressed to the reason for hope within salves

    'An old black man advised me of the cause.
    'There was a bond of faith they found within
    Their gospel, where they heard the Word of God,
    Both sung and spoken from the church lectern.
    A basic trust that God would elevate
    Them from their desperate depravation. They
    Endured because of those who were to come,
    The future generations, whom they hoped
    Could rise above the level, which the slaves
    Themselves then lived. Belief blazed up like fire
    Through their religion. An awakening,
    Had lighted the dark caves of their deep grief,
    Ignited from the embers of their dreams.''

    the gifts of grace and hope, sadly so lacking in this world, perhaps now more than then faith sustains less, but 'Ignited from the embers of their dreams' is the constant human desire to throw off shackles, achieve a better life for our children and future generations.

    More poets and readers need to read your poems Lynn, the readers will come 10+++
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Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 21, 2016

Poem Edited: Thursday, January 21, 2016


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