The Bully

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The bully was fond of saying …


Show me the boy of Seven” … his rule was fearful

I’ll show you the man” … I grew up tearful


He talked of family, togetherness, unity and team

But if you failed or let him down, he’d huff and puff and steam


And bombast and bluster and rant and rave and scream

And pick and prod and poke and dig and dent your self esteem


Spit flies! from his lips to my eyes, at every word I flinch

As he punctuates the points he makes with a prod, a punch, or a pinch


His glare is a question mark, his full stop is a fist.

His exclamation an open hand slap, just for emphasis!


His love manifests as a left jab, his hate as a vicious right hook

He calls me bastard, cunt and shit and snivelling little fuck


My crime today, I took without asking and tried to cover with a lie

I’m taking my punishment like a man, and woe betide me if I cry


Because only weaklings, cissy’s and girls are allowed to shed their tears

No son of his can have a softer side that’s for Nancy boys and queers


LOOK AT ME WHEN I’M TALKING TO YOU!” another vicious fist

Grabs a handful of my hair and draws my face to his


His is the perfect storm, rampant, raging and red

Mine is Bragolin’s “Crying Boy” sad and full of dread


There’s always a price to pay, for the shedding of a tear

Today a stinging, singing, ringing, tingling thick ear


Confession over, case dismissed “NOW GET OUT OF MY SIGHT!”

I scramble past him fast and low fleeing from his spite


Found guilty as charged your honour, I’m a liar and a thief

Sentenced to a kick in the confidence and a blow to the self-belief




For any folk who doubt my tale, hand on heart I’ll testify

My Father taught me very well, that it’s a sin to lie

◄ I Hate Cats!

DIYing ►


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keith jeffries

Sat 16th Mar 2019 19:04


This poem took me back to my own childhood and to a father who was similar to the description of your own father. A veteran of the second world war and a broken home with, a drunken father, he was heavy handed to such an extent that today he would be in court for abuse. I remember coming home with a poor school report for which I was sorely beaten. Never did he encourage, only threaten. My brother and I went through hell with him and at the age of 18 I left home to join the Army, not because I wanted to be a soldier but to escape a home life which was intolerable.

An excellent poem.

<Deleted User> (19913)

Sat 16th Mar 2019 18:11

John, a disturbing and powerful read.

<Deleted User> (21487)

Sat 16th Mar 2019 15:59

Such anger and aggression aimed at a young boy, you have not held back, and nor should you.
I can't help wondering what your father experienced when he was growing up - and his father before him.
It takes a very strong person to break the cycle of aggression.


One of the sweet little 'Sisters of the Sacred Heart' who taught us liked pulling our hair and hitting us with a pair of wooden rullers. happy days eh!

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Sat 16th Mar 2019 15:14

This is an excellent piece of writing on a very hurtful subject, bringing it into stark reality. Your commentary is also very telling. I don't really think that was just '1970's discipline', even in an under-privileged environment. He must have hated his own limitations.

That you might still think that his 'methods' were not sheer cruelty, maybe more like expressing innate anger, a sickness, that he could not, as opposed to would not, acknowledge. That is very forgiving, requiring much strength of character.

And have you, indeed, turned out 'alright'?

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John McDonough

Sat 16th Mar 2019 12:33

Frances: I don't doubt he taught me to respect my elders, the environment ... not litter, give up my seat to those more needy. He taught me that hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. His values were admirable, his teaching methods were questionable and horrible. He has passed now and would probably never acknowledge the error of his ways or the terror of his ways as I turned out alright. Times change 1970's discipline was nothing shy of today's domestic violence. The saddest thing for me is that this behaviour is still endemic in today's society 😞

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Jason Bayliss

Sat 16th Mar 2019 12:19

Really well written mate, really well written.


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Frances Macaulay Forde

Sat 16th Mar 2019 11:11

I can't 'like' this John but I admire your lyrical and honest telling of a nasty, spiteful series of lessons.
Look how wonderful you turned out - in spite of it all?
That's one in the eye for him, hey!

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