POEM: Human-Unkind

I submitted this poem as part of my university course last year. I started writing it after reading an article about victim blaming and shaming in rape culture. The whole idea of it made so angry. And so this poem came about.


by Bethany Frith

Scarlet tendrils swirled at my feet.
And the drain gargled,
Hungry for more.
Crimson clouds formed in the water
To be sucked away,
To be no more.
But clouds that part in a storm’s wake
Leave wreckage beneath
Carefree blue skies.
You can’t know when a storm might hit,
Lightning can strike twice,
As poetry, emotion, humankind.
Or human-unkind,
In deeds, indeed.

I never liked psychology;
To look for patterns,
Explain chaos,
Attempt in vain to understand
That which makes no sense:
But sometimes I thought I could guess
The thoughts of others.
The bar that night:
Wolf-whistles weren’t needed, I knew
I had attention.
Maybe too much.
But alarm bells should have gone a-ringing
As theme for the deeds
Of wolves-unkind.

In the steamed mirror, my blurred self:
My eyes: black splodges.
My gaze lowered
To the resting place of my clothes –
Thrown angrily down,
My blame misplaced
On inanimate things because
They’re too short, too bright,
I bought them, I wore them, legs bared
To the winter air.
Kept me warm; a blanket which is now torn,
In shreds on cobbles,
With that old Self.

Something gave the wrong impression.
Or the right one to
The wrong person.
I blamed myself: the stupid bitch,
Good enough only
For the drain.
I crouched down and scratched at my nails
Painted pink, clearly
Scratching, screaming, and never clean.
But my nails, just nails
Blameless as me.
I am victim unshamed, unblamed,
In the face of the
Poetry, emotion, human-unkind.


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