Slave Camps In The West

by G.D. Lyons


In Tassie I boarded at a school of the dear, good Christian Brothers

Though I was one of the lucky ones as the reader soon discovers.

There were some without a major fault, but some who were bad news.

I suffered from their nasty traits, but not from sex abuse.


The Decalogue commands that we respect the rights of others,

They recognized no rights but theirs, the dear, good Christian Brothers.

Many followed the Marquis de Sade instead of Edmund Rice.

For some this appetite perverse, alas, did not suffice.


They practised sex-abuse upon the boys that they controlled.

Not every brother did it but such things were never told - -

Though he may have no guilt himself, he speaks not of another's,

For silence is the rule within the dear, good Christian Brothers.


The inmates in the West were held without communication

Which favoured non-discovery for acts of molestation.

So runaways were hunted down, their stories kept unheard,

Imprisoned in the camp again, their captors undeterred.


The intention was to keep the boys in simple isolation

Lest word of treatment spread and earned the Brothers' condemnation.

Kept from social contact, bullied, terrified, assaulted --

Is it any wonder that their lives were permanently altered?


They came from war torn countries to our warm and pleasant land

They did not find it warm or pleasant, they did not understand.

The Christian Brothers saw that they, soon after they arrived,

Of everything but issued clothes were totally deprived.


They all set out with good, warm clothes from poor but loving mothers,

Confiscated straight away by the dear, good Christian Brothers,

Replaced with army summer dress without underwear or shoes

Not enough to keep them warm - - they weren't allowed to choose.


Visitors made gifts of food the inmates never tasted,

Appearing on the Brothers' board, so it should not be wasted.

The men in charge took action to ensure the story smothers

To preserve the reputation of the dear, good Christian Brothers.


For deaths of boys the Christian Brothers incurred no legal censure.

Five cracked skulls recorded -- verdict, death by misadventure?

If I had my life to live again, and I could have my druthers,

I wouldn't go within a mile of the dear, good Christian Brothers.

perseverer perseverer
56-60, F
Mar 7, 2010