William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Crime and Punishment

The idea that there are certain kinds of behavior that must be punished — where has it come from, and why is it so widely accepted? Why do millions of people call for the punishment of corrupt politicians? Why do they desire so strongly to see them punished? And what of the millions of others who emulate and praise their behavior, and see it not as evil, but as good? Are they, too, to be punished? Who, in the end, is to be punished? Everyone? And who, in the end, is to mete out the punishment? Everyone yet again? Why are so many people willing to live and die in a culture of crime and punishment? Why are so many people willing to pass such a culture on to their children? Must each punished generation get even with its parents by punishing its offspring? The prisons are full. Government is rotten to the core. Religions have hell. Yet the punishment goes on, with or without the crime, in the form of humiliation, spanking, imprisonment, and execution. War, too, is framed as punishment, one nation visiting punishment upon another, and is fought by a nation’s punished children, each who was born bearing light. May we learn not to punish and control these precious new arrivals, but to grow with them. They must not pay with their lives for us to be right.

February 11, 2021. Late afternoon.


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Categories: Everything and Nothing, New Poems & Pieces

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