Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2010

The Spectator & The Victim

by Mike Dennis

The Spectator

I'm so sorry Reuben, you didn't deserve it
Tormented, abused, pushed to the edge
For what – entertainment, a cheap laugh
They had no concept of the cost, to you.
Fifteen Years on, when I met you again
You gave me a glimpse of the long term damage
You told me you trusted no-one
And struggled to make friends
Looking back on your teenage nightmare
You blamed yourself for overreacting
An unwilling contributor to the torment
That followed you round school
But Reuben, it wasn't your fault
Their taunting and jabbing,
Their needling and poking
Was utterly and cruelly relentless
Once they had you locked on to their radar
Your miserable fate was decided
Until in desperation after four long years
The end arrived when you told your Dad

The Victim
What gives you the right Mark, to sit in judgement?
What did you do all those years ago?
Ask yourself my erstwhile friend
Is your conscience clear?
When we met again I wanted to feed you
A crumb of the pain that I endured
To see the scars were still apparent
And still hinder my daily life.
Looking back on my teenage nightmare
Do you blame yourself for not reacting?
A passive spectator of the sport
But never an open objector
So Mark, the fault lies at your door
The bullies didn’t give a stuff about me
Whereas you played the part of being my mate
But not once did you stand up against them
So write your poems and mention my fate
In your dinner party conversation
A spectator can observe and walk away
But I carry the burden day after day

Added: 30.04.2010

Judges' comments on this poem


I thought the poem was so driven by its message that the poetic quality took second place. It could have used more punctuation too.