“The Slave Raid”

I
a man of peace
am kept close
under jungle guard
as the thud
of war clubs
crushing bone
intermingles
with the terrified
screams
of women and children
and commanding
baritone voices
cut short mid-sentence
and involuntary moans
which resonate
around me.

My guards
stomp back and forth
shaking their bodies
swinging their arms
in mock combat
as they mimic
their clansmen
who run wild
murdering
beating
raping
torturing
the unprepared denizens
of the native village.

The cacophony
of battle
and stench
of ever-mounting
numbers
of wounded
and dying
cause me to gag.
My guards stop
their imaginary
participation
in the massacre
and watch me closely
for signs
of weakness.

Aware of their vigilance
I straighten
swallow the bile
which fills
the back of my throat
and once again
turn my face
toward the
atrocities.

I know
the survivors
of the massacre
will be corralled
and marched
to the sea
to be sold
into slavery.
I also know
I too
will be yoked
chained
and subject
to the slaver’s whip.

They will be careful.
I will not
be allowed
to die
as I am
an educated man
and
will bring
a premium price
at auction.

(Written for dVerse Poetics—War Poetry. October 28, 2014.)

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18 Responses to “The Slave Raid”

  1. billgncs says:

    the sad thing to me is that just the other day I read about raids still taking place. I can’t discern which is the greater tragedy.

  2. Gabriella says:

    Sadly realistic and powerful poem. Obviously your lines make me think of ISIS or Boko Haram. I dread to think of all the horrors the captives have to go witness knowing their turn will eventually come.

  3. Mary says:

    You have drawn a vivid picture of what it must have been like. Such brutality. Tragic to think of people selling other human beings. I really do not understand how this could have been justified as right.

  4. brian miller says:

    oy rather frightening to think about…and i imagine still happens on some level even today….slavery is still alive and well, sadly….to be uprooted so and your life turned upside down…how horrifying a thought eh?

  5. ihatepoetry says:

    The voice here is heavy and thick with authentic detail. An excellent write with a sickening, cyncial ending. Bravo!

  6. The fact that slavery still exist is a tragedy that I thought we wouldn’t see.. but maybe we are going into a world were freedom will be limited…

  7. Glenn Buttkus says:

    Kafka & Orwell were right, there are, always have been all kinds of slaves in this world; even some of us who perceive ourselves to be free men, pushed into leaden-eyed dead end vocations, loveless marriages, ungrateful children, apes in the corner office–smile, wonder what kicked me off on that rant? Your poem is stunning, gut-wrenching, as most War Poetics are; nice job.

  8. Easy credit and overwhelming debt makes slaves of all who work for their living but want more. We do it to our selves because we are fool enough to believe the salesmen’s pitch.

  9. Oh, the inhumanity of humanity. How can we do that to each other?

  10. Oh!! my gosh…gut wrenching, aggressive, and right to the very truth.

    Greatly written and very surreal picture of what’s to come in our future of wars.

  11. Matt Spence says:

    A very strong and visceral piece- well done.

  12. Grace says:

    What a terrible situation but alas happening in this time and age ~ I can’t imagine the captives horrible experiences and I pray that someday they will find a way to go home ~

  13. Abhra says:

    Such a unique point of view for narration – very very impressive, I must say. How you took us through the horror was a perfect canvas…

  14. markwindham says:

    the part of slavery that is never told…well done.

  15. This is powerful, and took me right there, the loading of the slave ships. Sadly, slavery still exists, as child sexual trafficking, and no rights for girls and women in some countries. Unfathomable. We live century after century, and make so little progress in human evolution of consciousness.

  16. wolfsrosebud says:

    the impact of a few words per line really gave this a punch… no violence intended

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