A man trades two slaves for a horse.
I do not have to tell you about his Mississippi accent.
I do need to relate to you that he asked not one question
about how the receiver of the two slaves
would treat them
while the man with the horse sought assurances
the horse would be treated well.
We never think of a horse or a cow as a slave.
Or whether our treatment of them
will affect our entry into the kingdom of heaven.
The owners who argued slaves were livestock property
never stood trial for the crime of bestiality
no matter the numbers of mulatto children underfoot.
Or were arrested and tried for rape
for those owners who argued slaves were merely lesser people.
copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney
2 thoughts on “Lack of Consent”
“or whether our treatment of them
will affect our entry into the kingdom of heaven”
this poem was a hard read, it felt more like a sentencing. i think if people really took time to contemplate history, we’d desperately be trying to make up to one another. even now, i wonder if i could ever repay the violent words, the offhand insults ive made to strangers that i still cant forget. and that feels inconsequential, a relative nonissue compared to centuries of evil that people as a whole have done unto each other.
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I appreciate your comment very much. I spent the last 24 hours deciding how to respond, because I felt a response was important. Based on my reading of history, humanity has improved substantially at treating people, animals and the environment better. We have few wars. We have fewer murders per capita. Women have equal rights on paper and we are working toward that in reality. Slavery is outlawed in all counties as far as I know. Prisons have laws and rules they are to live up to. How we treat society’s mentally ill has improved (and has a ways to go). What I am getting at is that humanity wide progress in the treatment of each other is a two steps forward, one step back procedure like all progress is. I find it important to be forgiving of the slights other people send my way both for myself and for them—it simply makes a better world. Our ancestors did the best they could with their understanding of what being a good person was in their society.
Since I write my poetry from a steam of consciousness method I do not plan to make statements. So I was not trying to make you feel something. This poem came out as part of my learning to see deeper into the world in my every day life—a connection my subconscious put together. In the USA, I wish we had an organization protecting criminal serving time in prison like the ASPCA works to protect and improved the ethical treatment of animals.
Thank you for commenting.
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