Kids get pressed down tight in rooms —
closed rooms with bare soft furnishing —
fresh flowers tunnelled, forced to blooms,
re-fertilised, kept promising.

Sweet words lead children out of schools;
Slapped love can tender skin and tongues.
Big men can muster round in pools
insensitive to gasps from lungs.

Though legal measures are in place
defining childhood sexu’l harm,
officials find it hard to face
the dark side of our human race,

the soiling minds that plant and farm
and pick off innocence with rotten charm.



My therapists and friends are big supports.
They’ve turned the end that I was heading to.
Nothing that I did went through the courts
as my response to my misdeeds fell true
so no addictions grew from grooming thoughts.

Though pulling through the past seems like a noose
that drags the fogged miasma on again,
not ev’ry victim of child sex abuse
gets stuck, offends, repeats the stain,
so having been a victim’s no excuse.

My help, while grasping air through trauma’s teeth,
revealed dishonesty and sin beneath.

Molesters stroke and pet their evil chores,
don’t take on board their imprints like they’re yours.


Child Abuse

My father beat me bad, beat me through.
His banging burst my being through and through.

He made me think my childishness was sin,
that any good I did was weak and thin.

I’d hide my heart beneath a mound of strength
deep away from all his striking length.

I’m no saint, just knew what I should do,
buckle down, agree, and so get through.

And recently I’d heard of Falun Gong.
What’s going on with them is really wrong.

They show such goodness in the way they act.
They’re tortured hard but keep their faith intact.

I’ve seem their exercise, their world belief.
It fills my heart and gives my soul relief.


Damian Robin lives in England. He works for an international newspaper. He lives with his wife and three children.

Featured Image: A scene from Dante’s Inferno by Gustave Dore.

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4 Responses

  1. goalpostspace

    Where to start? It’s truly hard, being a human being in the modern world. It’s truly dreadful. What I can surmise from this is that the only hope for today’s people is kindness. There is true joy in kindness. And kindness can conquer anything. But, most importantly, there is relief in kindness. It is the only medicine. But it is true joy and relief and comfort. Thank you.

  2. Damian Robin

    (Three Poems on School Age Sex Abuse)

    Primary Schoolboy

    It’s empty outside All Saints Primary,
    a school in Liverpool in 1960
    (I guess. I was maybe nine or ten.)
    Let’s say it’s Monday. I’m late and anxious. A man
    skips up to me. He’s not much bigger than me.
    He has a balding head, a red-veined nose.

    He shows me photos from his fawn raincoat.
    Ordinary women, indoors, without clothes,
    monochrome. To me, he seems to gloat.
    I seem to remember him saying “like your mum”
    and “sixpence for one” — I think — but mem’ry’s numb.

    Tuesday, same thing. Though scared of going in
    to class, this grotesque human makes the gate
    welcoming. — Wednesday, I’m not late.

    Grammar Schoolboy

    I went to the Dinning Room every day.
    I don’t remember the meals. But the way
    the Head of Art “touched our buns”, I do.
    Not daily, but something we got accustomed to.
    I cringe as I recall that creepy-feely
    hands-on trousers in that all-male school.
    The bottom-touching that became the rule
    was partly laughed at, it was so daft, so odd.
    But so accepted by the Jesuit squad
    — School Head and Deputy and senior staff
    were priests. Though they did not enact these acts,
    they didn’t do much to really stop these acts
    that went on day-after-day and after I left …
    Though I didn’t check back. I just left.

    Further Education

    … in a public toilet in a park;
    … on the terrace at a football ground;
    … in a van parked by a motorway;
    … in the front hall of my best friend’s home;

    … sun streaming through the window, or after dark,
    … locked in fear (unable to turn round),
    … usually no speaking, though nothing to say,
    … when discovered, shut from my best friend’s home.

    I could not express what was my norm.
    No firm friend’s markers, pointers, only mine.
    No siblings’ helpful sign, no script design.
    No parents’ definition, guide, or form.

    But now my tipping point is firmly tuned
    and I can keep the rotting poison pruned.

  3. Damian Robin

    High Street

    As I grossly think that “odds are long
    on imminent release of Falun Gong”,
    next to fruit and veg in grocer’s crates
    outside a betting shop, a young girl waits.

    Behind the glass, there’s grass along a course
    on unheard screens up higher than a horse,
    and soccer players dash on sim’lar green,
    like gladiators in a roman scene
    but banked by half-filled seats and unseen doors.

    The girl, 10 or 12, looks at scores
    that prey on cash before the close of play.
    How long will her consenting adult stay?

    I think this easy care plays fast and loose
    with Social Service remits on abuse.

    Random Notes

    It was a small high street in a town of a big city.

    Falun Gong is the largest spiritual practice in China despite being maliciously repressed for over fifteen years.

    A betting shop or bookies or bookmakers is a legal premises in the UK for gambling on all sporting events and big public events like the Oscars or political elections. They are very common on high streets in the UK. Bookmakers also have sites on horse racing tracks. There are also casinos on UK high streets.

    ‘Consenting adult’ is a term used in UK law to describe someone thought to be old enough, and therefore responsible enough, to make decisions about how and with who they want to have sexual activity.

    In the UK the government Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety deals with the vulnerable of society, including children.

    (Also part of the Chinese Cameos series. CC68.)

  4. Damian Robin


    My brother raped me while my dad looked on.
    When done, they helped me put my pants back on.
    I’ve grown up now, got safe and moved away;
    but, yes, those childhood bedrooms still hold sway.

    Altho my fam’ly aren’t a nation state,
    offering my organs while you wait,
    their overarching press and censorship
    was metalled gravity. A weighed-down ship.

    My body’s overuse, my mind’s restraint,
    my shut up life, are not in my complaint.
    My heart’s been raised. I’m sailing, bold and strong.
    I sound out clearing depths with Falun Gong.

    I’ve found the truths that I’d been longing for.
    There’s Buddha Law. There’s Dao. Two sides, one door.

    Random Notes

    ‘a nation state, / offering my organs while you wait,’ the Chinese regime enforce a policy of selling the organs of prisoners of conscience on the internet. The organ hosts do not give permission and most are killed by the operation.The largest group of prisoners of conscience this happens to are Falun Gong.
    DAFOH Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting

    (Also part of the Chinese Cameos series. CC69.)


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