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Sold ©

Jim McRobert
Edinburgh, Scotland
2004

You know we were the perfect girls, at school we studied hard
And for you we learned English, though in culture we were barred
We tried all ways to please you and held you in respect
Those little ways of comfort and others more direct
We learned the ancient stories and tales of long ago
Practiced arts and cooking, instruction blow by blow
As close as any sisters we valued family life
But fretted of the future, future husband, us, as wife

Then you got us both a Passport with stamp of British Crown
And took us off to a strange land, a place to settle down
With no one there to talk to, it caused us so much pain
Thro' months of isolation we doubted we were sane
Then our brother came to visit and we went to stay with him
Maintained discreet propriety, we never thought of sin
But you and Uncle came and took us, and spoke of sins we'd done
Yes threatened us with murder, you'd shoot us with a gun

You battered us, and beat us, and slashed us with a knife
Then smuggled us to India, to sell us as a wife
You sold our British Passport, sold our clothes away
Left us with a monster, though we pleaded, not this way
We never met our husband, each night a different face
Our husband owned a brothel, and we were in its place
We suffered rape a thousand ways, we died a thousand knives
To them were thought of playthings, cheap at any price

Escape, escape we pleaded, escape, escape we cried
For every man that touched us, we shrivelled, wept and died
Locked within our dungeon, deep within despair
Prayed to God Almighty, help us if you care
My sister then got pregnant, she thought she'd die of shame
Our husband planned of money, but murder was his game
Then my Sister sold for profit she'd service men with glee
Left alone within this Hell, what would become of me

Alone each day I'd practice to make a paper flower
The scraps of Press and Holy word I'd weave for hour on hour
Then tried to die within myself, refused to eat or drink
But forced I was by pipe and whip, he would not let me sink
Upon my bed I heard it said, the tongue I knew as English
And spoke a word I thought absurd, 'Help' my only wish
Dare I trust with pleading voice, my need he saw was great
And as he left within his time, I could only lie and wait

An hour went by and then a day, dare I trust to reason
Day by day then week by week, I kept my hope of freedom
Then as my hope came sinking down, deeper every day
A stranger came with clothes for me, and stole me quick away
He led me out from room to room, we tiptoed down the stair
Dressed in rags of leper clad, no one thought to dare
And to a house just up the street, he bade to go in
Then as I did as he asked, he whacked me on the chin

When I awoke though deep in shock, I lay as still as death
Wrapped in sheets crisp clean, it was a house of wealth
As weak I was with pounding head, I looked about my room
Where I was or who he was, my saviour from that tomb
Hunger pangs and grumbles rang, hollow from me now
Dare I rise from this soft bed, with aching beating brow
But as I stood I felt the shake, of trembling floor beneath me
And realised despite my state, that I was really free

A cold meal laid, on nearby chair, and water glass beside it
Did slake my pangs and calm my fears of doubt within my pit
And when I'd ate this tempting bait my terror stilled and calmed
Returned to bed to rest my head, but woke with great alarm
With hooded head upon the bed my legs were locked in chain
Terror, dread, within me, ignored their wrench of pain
Dragged from deep, from in my cell they gibbered words so near
As scraped and bruised by knock and bang, I loosed the stink of fear

I begged and begged in stumbled step but still they pulled me on
Past stink of grease to my relief would I survive till dawn
Then metalled stairs climbed up and up, my legs could only shake
With panting heaving gasping breath, would my heart now break
On quayside stood, they raised my hood, the glaring light it blinded
Then tugged me on to bidding block, as lecherous men decided
When standing there, bleeding, bare, chains around my feet
Fine-shackled bands, around my arms, I struggled in its heat

With sweating stink my hopes did sink, within that market place
As young girls stood in yokes of wood, each stripped of cloth to waist
From black to white in ranging light and ages ten till twenty
Forsaken now for any hope, my heart felt broken empty
On bidding block, was sold as stock and chained to dark mulatto
With tearful face she stood with grace my new found inamorato
And comfort were, when beaten there and locked within our prison
To do when due, at faintest whim, our owner's each decision

A year had past, our dye was cast, all tears we cried in vain
We'd lost our heart, would never part, in terror nights of pain
And then one night my love did fight and stabbed an evil doer
Who took her out, that brutish lout and slashed a sword right thro' her
I wept for days in craze like ways, and dreamt of days beside her
Then promised all, who heard my call, vengeance for this daughter
I planned and schemed, by daylight dreamed, at murder by my hand
At what they'd done for their fun, I'd make them understand

A stranger came and begged my name and pleaded with my master
He offered much in such a rush this wealthy grand paymaster
He'd travelled far, by plane and car, hunted distant places
And offered hope a fine thread rope a chance for me created
And sold I was for this man's cause then knew this man as freedom
Traced for years despite his fears he'd traced me to this sheikdom
In time explained in Scottish rain by group of likened women
Of Uncle's fate for they would wait and other likely vermin

Father died by God's great hand in whispered voice beside me
As brother bent with tears on face and put his arms around me
Our sister's gone you must be strong by childbirth died in labour
Now I must thank this guy named Frank for this his greatest favour
For every place he had to trace he found a paper flower
Despite years of doubt, hard found out, who held you in his power?
You're safe now here so never fear, these friends are here to help you
Who'd ever guess this life you've had since nineteen ninety-two.


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