Type
Article
Category
Poetry

Poetry | Probation file: 29/1957

the juvenile a child in manner

deceptively and dangerously alluring

stained in dusky skin

eyes big brown doe-like arresting

his charm the mask of chaos

 

at first blush perhaps a girl child?

our desire to save quickens the heart

light limbs soft voice pursed lips sweet

honey-blonde hair as fine as, yes, silk

but he is not to be mistaken for innocence

 

on 30 September 1970 in the Year of Our Lord

evidenced in Her Majesty’s Child Court Batman Avenue

the juvenile acting with “malice aforethought”

confronted an Officer of the Crown (page 7 para. 1)

with a savagery previously unwitnessed by said Officer

 

pages, entries, words contained within exhibit

a sorry tale of inevitable fall from grace –

troubled infancy, troubled schooling

trouble trouble trouble – triplicate

in bold in red underlined asterisked accordingly

 

a predicted story of woe (page 22 para. 3)

the child was “beaten repeatedly & severely”

aged 10 years 7 months 12 days

with metal bar trouser belt and fists

by “person or persons” of child’s own blood

 

the boy himself becomes that which he fears

violence courses his veins and therefore –

yes, therefore he must become the protected one

by us for us and himself and for the country

this the only Nation girt by sea

 

 

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Tony Birch is the author of Shadowboxing, Father’s Day, Blood, The Promise and Ghost River. He is currently research fellow in the Moondani Balluk Academic Centre at Victoria University.

More by

Comments

    • ….how the beauty of the form
      belies the turmoil of the soul,
      in the torment of a childhood’s
      tortured years, creates the darkest
      sorrow of too-early-Dreamtime tears…

  1. Humanity…we have had this in us, both ways, doer and done to, from the beginning…and also the the opposite. Is change in our future?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.