Thursday, April 25, 2013

NaPoWriMo Day Twenty-Five: A Mother's Son

A Mother's Son

Listen to my tale, and take heed
A young man cruelly killed
The Ku Klux Klan did the deed
and paid for the blood spilled.

In the dark and still of the night,
Angry men full of hate
met, plotting and spewing their blight
and opening up Hell's gate.

Young Michael walked alone
bringing cigarettes home
he did not know a wicked bone
listed him in Death's tome.

Henry and Tiger did grab him
and stole him then away.
They then beat him with a tree limb
not a moment did they

show poor Michael any mercy
wrapped a rope 'round his neck
strangled him and then still worse he
slit his throat, and the wreck

that was left they carefully hung
in a tree 'cross the street
of Henry's home. The papers sung
"drug deal" soon they would meet

Beulah Mae Donald, his mother
who fought for her dead son.
The reason, there was another,
She'd stop when justice won.

Over two years later, Henry
and Tiger were then caught.
Tiger told all when he
made a deal, but Henry did not.

Henry's last days were in Atmore.
By then, the Klan was dead.
Ms. Donald had more in store
She took the Klan's homestead.

Beware the wronged Southern Mother
and her lovely dead son.
She'll fight all those above her
and rest when justice is done.


written 4/25/13 for 

So today's prompt was to write a ballad. I couldn't find length restrictions for ballads, so this one got away with me.  The story is about Michael Donald, and I have written about him before in Sweet Home. If you are reading this, I would really appreciate some feedback. I know my form is iffy (I suck at meter and my syllable count is off a little and I couldn't find any two sites that agreed on rhyme scheme.) I'm worried that it is disrespectful to my subject, which I would hate, but I have spent most of the day on it and I have lost all objectivity. I am mostly worried that there is too much dedicated to his death. Thanks in advance for any input. If I need to just take it down, I will.


  1. Heidi, I'm no poet critic (and I know it). But I don't think your piece is disrespectful at all. It reminds me of old folk songs from years gone by. Actually, it made me think of a song my mom and grandma sang when I was little, also based on a true story. I wrote about it once, here:

    1. Thank you Bone. I remember when this happened and it's one of those things that has stayed with me. It was interesting to me that this reminded you of The Ballad of Mary Phagan, since her death was used as an excuse to revitalize the Klan. It's like the two bookend the modern movement. Also, it's a ballad, and that's what I was trying to write, so, yes!

  2. good for her....i think this is no disrespectful at all..a bit of harsh reality of our history that people dont like to talk about for grisly we treated human...ugh...we give the kids in my history class a pretty heavy dose of the ugliness of that reality...

    1. Thank you Brian. I think that she would have been an interesting woman to have known.

  3. I wasn't aware of this story, but because of your ballad I am now. You've given this tragedy very respectful treatment. It's just amazing that a mother can fight for justice for her son (for all of us, really) after such a horrible experience. I wonder if any justice is adequate for the evil that some persons do. Well done, Heidi

    1. Thank you. This happened in my hometown when I was ten. She did seem amazing. I am feeling more sure about how I've written this.

  4. i love how brave she fought for justice...that's a tough story and you really told it very well heidi

  5. Great story-telling Heidi! The subject matter is something one likes to forget about! But they still happen in various places!



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