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Friday, 13 September 2013

That Sacred Vow

Did you see the shadow
shield my eyes
when you named your price,
sealed my fate?
Did your heart lurch
(as mine did)
when the Devil danced on your back?

Did you feel the fear
grip my guts
as you chased my chariot through
cornflower blue
corridors – freewheeling on the
brink of death?
My nine-year-old loins

ripped apart at the hands of
your marriage –
my dowry for your
drought dried fields.
Did Satan sing as you heard my
screams and pain
penetrated the dusk of my wedding night?

Did your mind reel
(as mine did)
when they pulled the babe from my
ravaged womb
and pressed her
to my weeping breast?

And cattle bellowed and cockerels cried
in savage union,
as my childhood died.
And you sold my soul
for a field of corn –
one less mouth to feed
in this forsaken land.

© Carolyn Cornthwaite

Carolyn writes poetry and fiction and blogs at http://wimpywriter.com/ She has just finished the first draft of a novel and is slowly recovering. Next time she will write an uplifting tale with a joyous ending.


  1. The barbaric custom that your poem highlights is more widespread than I imagined. Just minutes before reading your heart rending rendition I came across a similar case that ended in tragedy:
    Yemeni child bride dies of internal bleeding on wedding night.
    One wonders what the political elite, who are forever talking of human rights, are doing in respect of such outrages.
    I can only add my voice to yours, Carolyn, in condemning this intolerable situation.

  2. Carolyn, blissful, exquisite writing but so very sad such horror has to exist to give word to such poetry. Beautifully handled. Not a word wasted. We have to speak for those that can't. Well done!!!

  3. Thank you both of you for your comments. Luigi, it is terrible and shocking how widespread this is - only by keep spreading the stories and voicing our revulsion can we hope to have any effect. Mari, it is hard to write about such acts and I appreciate your comments. I'm always moved to write when I read such stories and just hope that I handle things in a sensitive way.