Wednesday, 13 January 2021 14:56


Written by
in Poetry


by Rebecca Lowe

'After the first, it becomes easier,'
The cold, wild-eyed stare of the deer,
A crazy fish-eye lens looking backwards
through terror - you shiver,
You are only twelve years old
and know what's coming,
You've seen it before,
A fistful of blood on your face,
Still warm, from the dead beast,
The violence of your father's pride,
You smile, trying not to retch -
A rite of passage -

At school they taught you how
to stand in line - no flaws,
No questions, no insubordination,
To stand up straight, as the
Inspecting Sergeant hurled
Insult after insult,
To stand up straight,
And never to cry.

'After your first, it becomes easier',
Easier to stand on the side
of the strong, and so you become
the hunter, not the quarry,
Learn to inflict pain
quickly and humanely,
Learn to look away,
And never catch
Another's eye -
A rite of passage -

One day, you will run
A company,
A city, a country -
You will learn to push buttons,
You will learn to issue orders,
You will learn to look away -
A rite of passage -
And learn to ignore
Any sense of horror
or revulsion, or fear,
That after the first,
Tenth, hundredth, thousandth,
It has become easy,
Oh yes, it has become
All too frighteningly easy.

The image above is Walter Wolfgang's Banner, by David Hugh Lockett

Read 2338 times Last modified on Wednesday, 13 January 2021 15:07
Rebecca Lowe

Rebecca Lowe is a journalist, poet and Quaker peace activist, based in Wales, UK. She is a Bread and Roses Spoken Word 2020 Award winner, has appeared on BBC radio, and her poetry has featured in many anthologies including Red Poets, Blackheath Countercultural Review, and the Ymlaen/Onward! anthology of radical Welsh poetry (Culture Matters, 2019).