Tag Archive | Cruelty

No Way To Treat A Legend 

On looking through some old poems tonight I came across an unfinished effort I had started to write  on American Olympic legend Jesse Owens. It had some notes scribbled beside it which were key words and phrases I had taken down with the intention of adding them to the poem which was to be written on his achievements in Berlin and the subsequent mistreatment of one of America’s all time sporting greats. I noted that the inspiration for this poem was the anger I felt on watching a documentary on his life and times which was shown in the early noughties. On finding this poem and the notes I had taken to complete it  I set about finishing it and have given it the title No Way To Treat A Legend. I hope you enjoy what I think will be a challenging and thought provoking read.  
No Way To Treat A Legend 
Dateline 1936: Berlin. Olympic Games 

an athlete shattered Nazi dreams and ran his way to fame 

winning four gold medals he proved he was king of the track 

but Hitler wouldn’t shake his hand as Jesse Owens was black 

the champion was American from from the land of Uncle Sam 

and he’d met Hitler’s type before they called themselves The Klan 

those good ole boys who used the lord to justify their bigotry

no matter what they put him through he won with style and dignity 

by winning his Olympic crowns he captured people’s hearts 

he gave them dreams to cling to at a time when days were dark 

for unemployment plagued the land at a time of great depression 

but Jesse Owens had now become a global sporting legend 

This should have been a guarantee of national hero status 

for the man who mocked the master race and left them devastated

but Jesse’s dreams would be destroyed because he dared to say

athletics was a serious game and.he should earn some pay. 
Now this to those who ran the sport was regarded as a crime 

they banned him from all track and field until the end of time 

because he wouldn’t toe the line and wasn’t afraid to speak. 

in just four months he’d been reduced from a hero to a freak 

On boxing day of that same year his fall from grace completed 

he faced humiliation in the way that he was treated 

forced to race against a horse to see who would come out on top

a great Olympic champion had now been cruelly mocked 

he never gained another chance to show his record pace 

although he smashed the fantasy of the fascist master race 

but in his nation’s darkest hour he was given great acclaim

he should have been rewarded and enjoyed the fruits of fame. 

but this alas was not to be as Jesse’s dreams were crushed 

by those who held the reins of power who trampled him to dust 

though his place in history is assured by his victories in Berlin 

nobody knows his tormentors names but the world remembers him 

the suits who brought about his fall poured shame upon their country 

they revealed the truth they couldn’t hide their hate filled hearts were ugly 

when Jesse brought the glory home a brilliant future beckoned

until they destroyed a hero’s dream 

that’s no way to treat a legend. 

 © Gayle Smith 2017 


Trophy Hunters

Hey Readers  Though I am a card carrying member of the SNP, independence is not the only issue on my political agenda. Those of you who know me will know that I have a proven track record of fighting in support of many causes and campaigns including equality, trade union issues and the environment. It was the last of these topics which motivated me to write this poem after reading on the internet about the senseless killing of a young dolphin in Argentina by trophy hunters who had grabbed it from the sea and passed it round their friends to enable them to take selfies with it. As someone who graduated in geography and politics I was angered by this act of what I consider to be environmental vandalism and wrote this poem to illustrate my displeasure at these reckless actions. I have given the poem the title Trophy Hunters I hope you enjoy the read

Trophy Hunters

I couldn’t believe my eyes
when I saw the picture on the internet
a young dolphin taken from the sea
and passed around a group of friends
all for the sake of a selfie 
this selfish act enraged me
to the point of fury
It is our duty to protect endangered species
not take them to beaches
and hold them up like trophies
for a transient moment of glory
I silently wept when I read this story
this act of cruelty left me
Incandescent with rage
incredulous that people could stage such a shocking stunt
for 15 minutes of of vanity
this barbaric act of insanity
contrasted with happy memories
made on a holiday to Rosemarkie
when we went to see the dolphins at Avoch
in their natural environment
they danced
in the gentle heat of an early autumn Wednesday
creating a memory to be cherished
in the days before selfies
made trophy hunters of us all

@ Gayle Smith 2016