They took him, they took him
Daddy to a girl of three
And darling to a mother proud
- a lass he told hed die to save.
So now they take him, far away
From quiet village, cottage cool
And burnt by tropic heat
And foul heat raged disease.
A mother would have wept
Had she known the death
Her son should die
This lad who twenty years ago
Was only three feet high.
Hes still by age a young fresh man
But were you to see his face
Youd realise he was middle aged
Beaten with foul disgrace.
"Rise!" they scream and beat him with a cane
"Rise" they repeat, with boot and butt
he moves - what hellish pain!
With wire lash they cut his face
His arms, his back, his hands
With steel boot they break a rib
Or two, or three or four
Another goes into the groin as he lies on the floor
They kick and scream and cut and beat
Till after hours hes on his feet.
Hell walk! Poor wretch, he tries but falls
And he gets it all again.
Ten minutes pass, some fifty yards
Of sickening pain and blind sadistic rage.
Theyve brought him here, and you and me
To see the death hell die.
He huddles, semi-conscious in the dirt
Then lifts a last defiant hand.
With piercing scream of demented rage
The hand is pinned with bayonet
And every finger broke.
Then whilst this interlude they bring
Three yards of barbed wire
And bind his hands, his legs, his feet
With rope as fierce as fire.
And now, oh, how innocent a child
What can we do for thee?
For thou dost lie ten yards away
And we are bound to trees.
The sight we see, the thing they bring
Dost make us vomit with the thought
Of what they have in mind. Mind?
What mind? No animals so foul
No creature in eternity
could treat his kind this how.
Before our eyes this mutilated
Semi-living hell does turn into
What once he was years ago
A tiny child two years old
Running fresh and playing free.
But only for a second could this
imagining persist, for now we see
The thing they bring, and what
- what they shall do.
Like some foul snake, beslimed and black
They plunge it down his throat
before Afon, 1963 or 64?
Perhaps a tribute to Fred Howe and others who survived concentration camps in World War 2 to teach us to value and depend the precious gift of Freedom.
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