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The Body in the Forest, a Dark Poem Based on True Events

John is a contemporary poet who uses the rhyming styles of the classics to discuss current issues.


Based on True Events

It doesn't feel right to say this poem was "inspired" by the gruesome true events that took place in the Belanglo State Forest, NSW, Australia during the 1990s, so maybe I should just say it was "based" on those horrific murders by a man named Ivan Milat (better known as the Backpack Murderer).

You can find out about that true story by watching the video after the poem.


The Body in the Forest

Beneath the forest canopy,

Hidden deep within,

A body lies there lifeless,

Rigor mortis has set in.

"A young girl has gone missing,"

So says the police report,

"13 year old Melissa Hart.

Her parents are distraught."

"A thorough search is underway.

So far there are no clues.

Her last reported whereabouts,

She went to buy new shoes."

"Melissa is a charming girl,

No one would wish her harm.

Hopefully she's off with friends,

And there's no cause for alarm."


A couple hiking through the woods

Stumble on a gruesome sight,

A naked female body

In the dappled leafy light.

It's one week since she disappeared,

Her identity is learned.

The cause of death, blunt trauma,

It's homicide confirmed.

Witnesses are being sought.

Prime suspects, there are few.

Forensic experts scour the scene,

To find the smallest clue.

But often murders go unsolved

For evidence is lacked,

And many killers never caught.

A terrifying fact.


U.S. unsolved murders on the way up

Every U.S. territory has seen a general increase in murders over the last decade. Puerto Rico has the highest murder rate at 26.2 per 100,000 people. An amazing 1,136 murders occurred in 2011 alone. Yet Puerto Rico boasts twice as many police officers per capita as any U.S. state

From 1980 to 2008 nearly 185,000 homicides went unsolved in the U.S. Some cities, like New Orleans, have low murder clearance rates ( the police were unable to present the court with an accused). Others, like Washington, D.C., have nearly doubled their success rate to a creditable 96 percent. Nearly 6,000 homicides go unsolved every year in the U.S. A national average of 66 percent solved is unacceptable.

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