Peter Boyle

(1951 - / Melbourne / Australia)

Education - Poem by Peter Boyle

Seven years old,
on loan to an uncle
and a bundle of cash went missing.
For three days locked in a room, beaten.
The golden orbs of pennies roasted in an oven
removed by tongs
glisten on a child’s skin
as she screams and screams.
These round white scars
that remain even today
without pigment
without the shadow of colour
with only the ash’s afterglow.

After telling that story
you burnt your hand on the iron,
burnt it yourself,
your punishment for breaking silence.

You rushed to the balcony but they pulled you back inside.
You wanted to spit, to scream insults at the soldiers
to stop them beating up the old man in the street.
“Listen,” she said as she held you back, your mother.
“Listen, you have to learn to say nothing.”
Learn to be nobody.
Learn to be the white wall
that has no face and no tongue.

Comments about Education by Peter Boyle

  • Rajnish Manga (6/11/2015 11:38:00 PM)

    The pain and the ordeal of a seven year old comes alive before the eyes of the reader in its shocking starkness. Very powerful portrayal. (Report) Reply

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  • Kim Barney (6/11/2015 8:35:00 AM)

    Vivid and haunting. Sounds like true experience, but hopefully was just your great imagination. Well written. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (6/11/2015 7:58:00 AM)

    Learning the hard way! With the muse of life. Thanks fo sharing this pem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Jasbir Chatterjee (6/11/2015 5:25:00 AM)

    It's a nice poem. It is difficult to keep our pain and grief bottled up and it does come out eventually. (Report) Reply

  • Roop Rekha Bhaskar (6/11/2015 2:27:00 AM)

    Even if not true, my heart goes out to the seven year old. very nice. (Report) Reply

  • Paul Sebastian (5/11/2014 12:43:00 AM)

    Struggles and the reality of pain growing teach us life. A kind you do not from school. Great write! (Report) Reply

  • (5/10/2014 11:20:00 PM)

    The poem even in its wilderness seems to be nice and the situtations perfectly against the rights of the child which follows it in the life and creating a peculiar personality without compromising the sufferings. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012

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