The Henhouse Boy
Your frail shape, luminous, / Weightless, is stirring the dust
It was several days after a trip to Washington State that I thought about the Henhouse Boy. I don’t know why the story popped into my head. Sometimes a stream of consciousness is the way to keep the mind from the trappings of inhibitions. So I made a mental note about the thought that popped into my head and tucked it away until today.
The story took place decades ago in Ireland about an illegitimate birth, a chicken coop, and a boy, Kevin. For those unfamiliar with Kevin’s story, it seems the thing of Celtic myth.
In the late 1940s, after her husband passed, Margaret Halfpenny, a widow, had a relationship with a younger man that lead to the birth of Kevin. In those days, such “illegitimacies” were kept quiet and handled indiscriminately.
At the time, Mary had four children with her late husband, three daughters and a son. To make ends meet, she rented parcels of her land and “kept chickens in two henhouses a short distance from the small farmhouse.”
Almost since birth, Mary kept Kevin locked away in one of the henhouses until 11-year-old Desmond Brown, while playing hide-and-seek with friends, stumbled upon the henhouse and a pair of squinting eyes that peered at him through a window.
Desmond told his friend Joseph Carsen and the two went back to the henhouse several times with other friends before one of the boys would go on to tell his father who alerted “the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Sergeant John Cross.”
Seven-year-old Kevin’s body was badly deformed after years of cramped quarters. He couldn’t speak and only made “hen-like" sounds. The boy’s spiritual, physical, and emotional deprivation would leave an indelible mark upon future Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney, a young man of about 17 when the incident was reported in the local newspaper. Heaney wrote a poem about the boy and the story was made into a short film.
Heaney’s poem about the Henhouse Boy is one of neglect, suffering, and pain. But, it has a metaphorical purpose that extends to the millions of boys unseen, unheard, and unacknowledged.
I suppose the story and Heaney’s poem left an indelible mark upon my memory only to resurface after a moment of great frustration, of the once again human failing to address the neglected boys who wonder the streets of Washington State and cities across the United States. The opioid fallen boy. The suicidal young man. The uneducated ones.
At a time when legislators had a chance to address human suffering, they chose to keep the boys caged, politicians words acting like slants of light that do not illuminate but bring us what Emily Dickinson called a “Heavenly Hurt” on winter afternoons, where “internal indifference” and “imperial affliction” are visited upon those in despair.
I have a message to all our Henhouse Boys. Don’t worry little Henhouse Boys, we see you and the millions of silhouettes like you. You are not forgotten. There are many looking to take you from the cages of indifference and bring you to the full light of compassion. In the words of a newly found friend; “we see you, we hear you, we got you.”
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Wow, very powerful. Sad story and excellent connection to our current times.
Marriage law, family court, false accusations, domestic violence laws - all things that can be weaponized and are weaponized against men - paternity fraud, too. All these things need to be addressed and changed so that men cannot be attacked with the law by women, which is happening more and more.
The system itself is toxic. Boys should not be taught to take it on the chin and deal with the garbage misandrist laws and legal system, but to legally protect themselves, to have good boundaries, self-worth, dignity, and to circumvent the predatory legal system altogether by using commitment ceremonies instead of marriage licenses, with cohabitation agreements, and much more.
The legal system incentivizes women to be single mothers, to be hypergamous, to use men as walking ATM machines, and move to the next man, then the next one, etc.
Single mother households make for poor outcomes. Children in single mother homes are double digit percentages more likely to be involved in criminal activity, to dropout of school, to be in prison, to experience teenage pregnancy, to abuse drugs.
Women and the law that does not hold women accountable needs to be addressed. It's not just "teach boys to be better" - which really means, "teach boys to be masochistic and to put up with the gross mistreatment they receive from society".
We need drastic reform.
Men should not get into situations where they are treated like garbage and are owned by their partner who can coerce them, accuse them, and destroy them financially and socially, even threatening their freedom through false accusation, as well.
The men in the USA don't even have rights over their own genitalia. It's mutilation for girls, but "circumcision" for boys. This is absolutely disgusting and unacceptable. Europe knows better, but even in Europe there isn't legal protection for boys, but cultural protection in that people know it is wrong. The USA bullies any country that tries to ban male genital mutilation. NO ONE SHOULD BE ALTERING ANYONE'S GENITALS. PERIOD. To say anything else is to be a fool without moral principles. No religion, no country, no people, should every be performing non life-saving procedures on any minor.
Women have more rights than men do. Girls are valued more than boys are. This needs to change.
Let's be real, all of this garbage needs to change.
The blog below shows the fantastic writing of Peter Wright who describes how the west is first and foremost a gynocentric society - meaning, women are placed first. Women have more power and privilege than the majority of men. The only men that can rise above this are the ones that are of a high economic class, and even then, they still must exercise much caution.
Foregen is reversing circumcision through regenerative medicine. They are growing foreskins in labs, with the patient's own body cells. They have received well over $1 Million in donations, and over $25,000 a month in recurring donations, these numbers are from over a year ago. They have had successful animal trials. The underlying ECM (extracellular matrix) technology has already been approved and has been successfully used in different applications, and human trials, the final phase, starts this year.
Circumcision is disgusting, misandrist cruelty. If you are an adult and want to alter your body, fine. Women can get a labiaplasty if they truly want to as an adult, but to touch a minor is illegal...for girls only, boys are not protected.
We need to do a better job at actually respecting and caring for boys, because we don't, and really have never done so.
Look at this YouTube video of Sandra Bullock talking about how she uses baby boy foreskin cream on her face. Listen to the audience laugh. We have failed boys so severely it is absolutely appalling.
Oprah endorses and uses baby foreskin cream, too.
Hospitals harvest the foreskins of baby boys. Look at the FOIA requests from hospitals in the USA.
You want to know why things are not different? Because boys are taught that they don't matter from a young age. They are taught to just put up with this garbage, that they are oppressors that can never be victims or can never be mistreated. We don't allow boys to have BOUNDARIES or to NEGOTIATE the terms of treatment they receive in their relationships, These single mothers, this feminist GARBAGE, this gynocentric RUBBISH brainwashes boys into masochistic beasts of burden that grow to be angry, frustrated, traumatized, and can only laugh and make crass jokes about their pain and the pain of others because it is the only coping method they have - other than other addictions or just plain killing themselves.
The suicide rate speaks spades. 75-80% of suicides are men, not because it is easier, but because it is HARDER. There is no privilege, and feminism was never about equality but about misandry.
The below links are from Janice Fiamengo, a professor, who speaks truthfully about feminism. I recommend her substack and her YouTube channel.
If these things I mentioned are not addressed, then we will just be speaking platitudes, Just like what the legislators did, or did NOT, do for poor Kevin.
"At a time when legislators had a chance to address human suffering, they chose to keep the boys caged, politicians words acting like slants of light that do not illuminate but bring us what Emily Dickinson called a “Heavenly Hurt” on winter afternoons, where “internal indifference” and “imperial affliction” are visited upon those in despair. "
Let's not keep making this damned mistake.
It's time for uncomfortable, difficult discussions and actions.
No beating around the damned bush, anymore.