6.24.2012

recompense

The tiny town center,
awash with reporters
live-tweeting the news:
Jerry Sandusky,
guilty on 45 charges.

As the cheer rises
I can hear it from here,
wrapping my heart like
a balm, my old community
embracing the children.

Brave children, men now.
Strong for all of us who
were not strong for you.
We are all complicit--
All of us are responsible.

Now we must make amends.

Fireblossom asked the Real Toads to write a poem featuring a famous person, and I chose someone who is now infamous.

I lived and practiced as a new lawyer for three years in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, the site of Jerry Sandusky's criminal trial. Like for most people, the gravity of his actions has overwhelmed me. I wrote this poem earlier, when Joe Paterno died:
untitled 1/25/12

23 comments:

  1. How do we make amends? I read "untitled" with a painful thank you. Embrace the children in the best sense of the word--That particular morality is not relative. Thank you for this 2 in 1.

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  2. honor children
    protect children
    listen to children
    right?

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    1. Yes. And, if you don't mind, provide some structure in which to be free. I get so torn about the children question because of watching a bit of youth's evolution in the HS classroom over the years. Can't help but believe each needs much more safety earlier to be secure enough not to threaten others. And you are right, of course, without conditions--however they come to us--to treat with them with respect, kindness and especially to protect them from harm.

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    2. yes, absolutely. i'm not saying i have all the answers but honoring children and treating them with respect is imperative. and, too often, lacking.

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    3. Thank you for this conversation, Marian--for sharing your wisdom.

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    4. oh, you're welcome and glad you are here sharing, Susan. i don't really have any wisdom, other than knowing that hurting children is wrong and has lasting, devastating individual and community consequences. xoxo

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    5. "lasting, devastating individual and community consequences"...so true...so sad.

      Love this:

      "I can hear it from here,
      wrapping my heart like
      a balm:

      Beautiful.Well written, Marian.

      I'll admit I don't watch news often but the name does ring a bell and now I'll have to get caught up. Sounds awful though.

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  3. With this verdict, I hope the healing can begin.

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  4. I'm not a great one for heaven and hell, sinners and saints, but I know evil when I see it. And it is not only those who tweet that should pass the message on, but the poets too. Thank you for stepping up, Marian.

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  5. i agree, kerry, and thanks. yes, tara. i know that i've been feeling extremely raw about the whole thing but this, i mean the effort put into the prosecution and the community's response, is very positive.

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  6. Both are killer poems, Marian - hard to write as it is to think of the acts the writing is about - but necessary to bear witness, and to keep bearing witness. Yes, I, too, thought of how fragile your children's bodies and hearts are, their faces came before me as I read. Keep them safe, kiddo. You cant be too vigilant, ever. Two of my four were abused.

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  7. What revolted me especially was how he smiled and acted like hey, no big deal. Hell is too good for him.

    Thanks for being a part of FBF, Marian!

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  8. Pretty awful story, well-written poem. (I should say very awful story.) k.

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  9. yes, all of this, exactly how I felt when I heard the verdict. Your words were perfect for the emotions that this has brought up and out for all of us that were abused by someone we trusted.

    thank you for writing and sharing this, may we all hold those boys/now men in our hearts.

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  10. the best line is how all of us are responsible. The lack of self-awareness among some of the Penn State authorities and apologists astounds me. My heart aches for these victims, the people that live there, and those touched by the while thing. Why some can't grasp that is beyond my emotional understanding.

    this was beautiful

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  11. As one who suffered sexual abuse as a child my tears and heart go out to his victims. Thank you for such a powerful piece on such atrocity perpetuated on the innocent.

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    1. yes, you are welcome, Susie. and xoxo

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  12. Very powerful. When I was practicing, I saw the lasting effects of abuse over and over. It's never too late to deal with it but one can't "get over it" if it's not acknowledged. The community often is complicit in sweeping it under the rug because it's too uncomfortable to talk about.

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    1. exactly. i feel like talking about it is the one good thing that came from this horrible, horrible man's actions. and the action/inaction of others, of course. but the talking about it and acknowledging it and standing against it has been good. that's what i was trying to express in this little poem, that the community (remember when the students rioted as Joe Paterno was dismissed?) stood against it.

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