Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tools of Torture

A trip to the Museum of Man I wandered
to a display with tools of torture arranged
in random order with clear descriptions
of how and when they were used.

Some I remember when I studied the Spanish
inquisition, French revolution, 
and the stories 
of English kings and Chinese 
Most were designed to extract 
many to punish and execute, 
others as a means for conversion.

Observations I made after viewing
several devices that many were made
to inflict pain and humiliation on women. 

There was the Shrew’s Fiddle for gossips,
nags, and women who disturbed the peace,
also a Brank, a metal cage placed over the heads 

of those same gossips and cantankerous women.

The public was always invited to scorn and disparage
all sexually indiscreet women who were forced
to wear plaits made of straw and stand outside
the church reminding those still chaste to be good
or suffer serious consequences.

I could go on, revealing those tools 
to inflict grisly pain, but let it suffice
for many developing countries these practices
have gone away as long as high heeled shoes,
are not considered tools of torture, nor the sharp
needles for tattoos, or female medical exams.

Some say the internet has now
become the forum for inflicting 
shame and humiliation
along with incriminating 
photos and videos.

Maybe there is something
in the nature of being human,
that condemns the use of torture
yet substitutes viral tools
to discredit and dishonor 
in a public manner.

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