Little Boy Crying

LITTLE BOY CRYING

Your mouth contorting in brief spite and hurt,
your laughter metamorphosed into howls,
your frame so recently relaxed now tight
with three-year-old frustration, your bright eyes
swimming tears, splashing your bare feet,
you stand there angling for a moment’s hint
of guilt or sorrow for the quick slap struck.

The ogre towers above you, that grim giant,
empty of feeling, a colossal cruel,
soon victim of the tale’s conclusion, dead
at last. You hate him, you imagine
chopping clean the tree he’s scrambling down
or plotting deeper pits to trap him in.

You cannot understand, not yet,
the hurt your easy tears can scald him with,
nor guess the wavering hidden behind that mask.
This fierce man longs to lift you, curb your sadness
with piggy-back or bull-fight, anything,
but dare not ruin the lessons you should learn.

You must not make a plaything of the rain.


from I been there, sort of: New and Selected Poems (Carcanet, 2006), copyright© Mervyn Morris 2006, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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1On Holy Week, a sequence of poems for radio

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2Examination Centre

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3Muse

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4Peelin Orange

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5The Pond

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6Mariners

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7Valley Prince

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8Dadd, Poor Dadd

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9Tutorial

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10Journey into the Interior

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11Cave

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12Windscreen

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13Stripper

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15Birthdays

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16Literary Evening, Jamaica

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17Toasting a Muse

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19To an Expatriate Friend

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20To the Unknown Non-Combatant

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21Grounation

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22Cabal

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23The Roaches

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24Case-History, Jamaica

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25Nursery

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26Afro-Saxon

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27For Consciousness

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28Jamaica 1979

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30Data

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32Short Story

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33Walk Good

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34Moment of Truth

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35Persephone

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36Narcissus

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37A Voyage

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38The Lovers

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39Critic

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40Peacetime

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41Family Pictures

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42Sister

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43Seen

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44Connection

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45Pussycat

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46Version

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48In the Garden

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50Happy Hour

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51Casanova

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52North Coast Hotel

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53Little Boy Crying

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54Proposition One

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55Togetherness

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56Give T'anks

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57Love Is

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58There was a Young Poet

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59Departure Lounge

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60To a Crippled Schoolmaster

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61The Day My Father Died

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62Granny

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63Hey, Ref!

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64Outing

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65Postcard

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66Pre-Carnival Party

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67Danse Macabre

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68Diptych

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70Birthday Poem

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71Terminal

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72My Rodney Poem

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74Checking Out

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75Palimpsest

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76A Chant Against Death

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