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Torture: A Poem About Childhood

In the realm of pain and anguish
Begging for release of Death,
Lies the child with brutal mother
Battered day by day with stealth.
All who know the gentle lady
See her kindness shining bright,
See the woman love her children
See her beauty, power and might.

All who know the kindly woman
Know her nature full of care,
Every act of selfless wonder
Perfect mother true and fair.

But in struggle through the daytime
Father working all day long,
Stress builds up, she suffers torment
Anger soon becomes her song.

Children now ask one more question
Seek to find out what to do,
Mother’s too confused to answer
Screams out loud an oath or two.

Ranting raving for an hour
Children’s ears are filled with pain,
And their hearts so young and tender
Fill with anguish once again.

In the tea medicinal brandy
Just to calm her nerves once more,
After all she really needs it
Her emotions jagged, raw.

Then in time she sees the reason
Sees the cause of all her pain,
Should she not have seen it sooner?
It’s her children! They’re to blame.

If at fault they must be punished
Cleansed and purified by pain,
She’s the one ordained to free them
Lawful torture once again.

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Thus she lifts the cane above her
Rage does grip her soul so tight,
Down it sweeps, She strikes out blindly
What cares she who’s wrong or right.

Frenzy overtakes her spirit
Thrashing wildly all around,
Striking out in raging fury
Deadly killer instinct found.

Beating at her helpless children
Bamboo cane sings once again
All her self-control departed
Children drown in endless pain.

Swarming welts of angry crimson
Swathe their pink and tender flesh,
Two young lives in Hell’s own cauldron
Wince from wounds so new and fresh.

Now the knife is twisted slowly
Mental pain to fan the flame,
Children they did caused the anguish
Mother tells them they’re to blame.

They’re the guilty ones for certain
Hidden evil brings no shame,
If the mother lost control then
Someone else must be to blame.

Guilt she heaps upon her children
Guilt is added to their pain,
Slaves at least would feel less turmoil
Slaves would only bear the cane.

Now the children’s minds in horror
View their world distorted much,
They both learn to hide their feeling
Take no pleasure from a touch.

Later in their lives, much later,
When their hearts they want to share,
Love eludes at every turning
Pain their hopes does wrest and tear.

Crucified by history’s beating
Crazy from deceit and lies,
One tenacious fighting-spirit
Challenges maternal ties.

Memories deep and still subconscious
Strain to surface and be known,
Slowly from beneath the threshold
Comes the truth that must be shown

Years of tortured introspection,
Sought to cure a soul betrayed,
‘Til at last the awful memories,
Pain, while be was daily flayed.

Pain once more but this time truthful
Starts to heal his shattered mind,
Now middle-aged he grasps at Life
But fate is cruel, she’s not kind.

His sister was too weak to fight
Her strength was so depleted,
Her wounds too deep she gave up hope
Into her mind retreated.

Unable to confront the truth
A drunkard mother oh so vile,
Her mind denies reality
To cringe behind a plastic smile.

Although the mask she hides behind,
Portrays a happy vision.
It buried any hopes she had,
To flee that deadly prison.

She needs to stop and face the pain,
To lance the festering wounds,
But fear does block her every move
As her mind shuts down, she swoons.

There’s too much pain for her to face
The awful truth to confront,
Her past’s been buried far too long
Her emotions dead and blunt.

For one last time her soul retreats
Amnesia drowns her mind,
Her body lives, but all else dies
There is nothing left behind.

A full half-century has now passed,
Since the boundless pain began.
The son’s good fortune set him free,
To watch his sister’s mind drown.

Chance revealed to each a pathway,
Fueling hope for sanity.
His good path bore life belated,
Her path, just calamity.


Torture: A Poem About Childhood

Personal Story

A personal story contribution is a story told by someone who is living with mental illness, a caregiver or family member, or a professional who treats mental illness. We believe in the importance of the patient's voice, and those most impacted by the effects of mental illness. These stories are a vital part of the mosaic that makes up the complexity of living with mental health concerns.

APA Reference
Story, P. (2019). Torture: A Poem About Childhood. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 5, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 29 Jan 2019 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 29 Jan 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.