Spankings - Poem by Lucius Furius
I've never hit my children.
My own father spanked me perhaps ten times:
for riding my bike on a busy street,
for 'acting up' in church.
I have no nostalgia for these beatings
(as in: 'Sure glad Pa whupped some sense inta me as a young'n—
don't know where I'd be if he hadn't.')
He would make me pull down my pants and underpants
enough to expose my buttocks,
position me between his legs so he could hold my own legs still,
bend me over his left leg with his left arm,
and hit me with his bare right hand.
What I remember as much as the pain
is his angry expression: Was he angry at me?
Or at something else?
I believe it was mostly an unpleasant duty;
usually done because my mother had asked him.
They were afraid we'd become juvenile delinquents.
I suppose his own father had spanked him-
and that he, in turn, had been spanked by his father-
a family tradition....
There've been times with my own children-
God knows they're far from perfect-
where I've almost given in to anger.
Somehow I've always caught myself,
always remembered that unseemliness....
Our house is kind of ugly from the front, a split-level
with the whole left side facing the street being a solid brick wall.
Our picture window faces the grass and trees of the back yard.
Each morning, no matter how much of a hurry I'm in,
I open the curtains to this window-
that my children might see not just the man-made objects of our living room
but some hint of the grace and beauty of the whole, great, natural world.
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