Posted in Poetry

A song for the hanged


by Noel Ihebuzor 

After the next hanging


The rope swings in slow narrowing tiring circles

Stretched taut

under the weight of the stretched and twisted neck

The empty body dangles and swings,

emptied of dreams and desires,

Voided of life 

an inert piece dangles at the end of the rope,

in tortured peace

silent and silenced, limp and swaying

The peace of the hanged,

all flesh and bones but no spirit

The peace in this place of reward and retribution 

is broken by the oozing damp smell of fear

from the hanged in the last moments of surrender

and the stench of human waste

from the enlarging dark stain



In far away places,

the assured nods of the righteous mighty

celebrate the hanging justice

limping on a club-foot


Justice looks down at the hanging body,

dismissive, conscience assured,

any hanging doubt white washed

the broken body now forever blind to human justice,

its spirit now free surveys the hangman, the jury

the just and the strong, the clever and learned,

cocooned in their certainties

in an arena peopled by uncertainties

equations, assumptions, hazy and fuzzy 



The bold gold pens in the heavily ringed hands

of the wigged and the learned indifferent 

sketch clever curvy lines, circles and boxes

on the ever shifting fine sands of justice

in widening loops and areas

that will soon box in and entangle the feet of former allies

soon to be declared guilty

and soon to be consigned to the waiting rope,

soon the winds will wipe away the fine sketches in the sand

whilst an indifferent world looks on



Soon another old alliance will be dissolved,

a former thug is judged expendable

buried crimes exhumed with care,

entangling evidence amassed,

misdeeds recalled and retold in minutiae..

and another guilty is hurried away

to an encounter with ropes that stretch

and to the final stretcher


before, after and beyond the last,

the first and the next hanging,

let no tears be shed for the hanged,

the twisted neck

nor for the hanging world, justice stretched

rather let the ears of the world

be flooded with the song of blind bats and deaf owls





Development and policy analyst with a strong interest in the arts and inclusive social change. Dabbles occasionally into poetry and literary criticism!

One thought on “A song for the hanged

  1. Noel–where to begin? First of all–amazing poem, beautiful in its anger and accusation, and brutal with honesty. That first stanza, so full of motion contrasted with the inert peace of death, of the empty body himself, is incredibly powerful–yes–this broken body on the end of that stretched rope held dreams, had hope, had life and spirit; all gone now with a jerk of the rope. The biological reality of that hits in the solar plexus. Then, the short second stanza, and the beginning of the third, describing the people/entities/corporations (?) that really wanted the sentence praising the judge that issued the sentence. Actually here, I am not sure if it is justice itself, or the sentencing judge that is crippled and limping (my assessment is both, twisted and crippled by who and what they serve). I really like the freed spirit of the accused looking back on his accusers–beautiful! And then the same horrible cycle prepares to repeat itself, while the world looks on. The indifference here (using the word of the poem) is stunning; total global blindness and deafness to what is happening in its midst. I am so glad you posted this–a lot to chew on.


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