While you were at school today, I watched the morning news. One of those dark-seed thoughts sprouted and I became so upset that I blinked back tears.
You see, Monday is Remembrance Day.
And it got me thinking, about war, about the horrors that man can inflict upon man. Bayonets. Land mines. Water torture. Experimentation. Starvation.
It was at that moment that I realized that soon, too soon, you will learn about these things, and though I want to be the one to discuss these things with you... it struck me that I have no idea what I will say when you begin to ask me the hard questions.
Already, what you ask astounds me, leaves me hollowed, feeling so inadequate, lost.
You've asked me why some parents aren't more loving to their children, speak to them so "awfully." You've asked me why there are countries without enough water and why some don't have enough to eat. You've asked me why people must die, why people aren't more kind and why people hurt each other.
And I've stumbled along, given you the best answers that I can. I have made sure the answers are honest, but I do my best to shelter you from the harsher facts, making sure that what I say is age appropriate.
But one day you will ask me about the Holocaust and Hitler. You will learn about slavery, infanticide and gang rapes. And school shootings. And Syria.
You will ask me what is evil and then you will ask why does it exist?
How can supposedly good people stand by and let horrible things happen to an entire culture? How can someone see more worth in a $6 latte than buying a coffee and sandwich for the homeless man they see every day, but refuse to acknowledge with so much as a smile?
I have taught you that hate is a bad word and one we can choose to use ... or REFuse to use. You- at only four - have already asked me about hate. Our conversation is one I will never forget, always treasure. And that you internalized all that information, that I can see that you have come to understand the power of choice, fills me with such a feeling of peace and hope.
Monday is Remembrance Day.
Your mom feels as small as one soldier's cross amongst thousands, aching for that enormous heart of yours that will shudder when you learn that the villains in your fairytales pale compared to the real life villains, some dead and some very much alive.
Please, just for tonight, ask me about migration, again, or why God invented the letter E, which you say is the worst letter in the alphabet, and tomorrow I do my best try to explain about war.
I love you, monkey. Stay you.
* Written for my daughter, who really does have a precious pair of Little Yellow Socks.
Little Yellow Socks
by Amy Swanson 12/5/2008
Little yellow socks
running down the hall
"Slow down with those socks on,"
I'd yell... too late, the fall!
Little yellow socks
padding softly late at night
climbing up into my lap
one more hug, out goes the light.
Little yellow socks
follow me with squeals of laughter;
Oh how she loves to run in them,
Begging me to come chase after!
Little yellow socks...
now not being worn a lot.
My little girl is growing up,
No longer just a tot.
Little yellow socks
will be cast aside someday
I must guard these precious moments;
in my heart, they'll safely stay.
Here further down the hillside slope
Down close to the creek with hope
My husband bought a house, land
Fenced in and made many plans
Subdued the land to cow pasture
And planted a garden, fruit trees sure
Fathered another child to call him sir
The creek seemed to like the stir
Enjoyed the children for a little while___
Loved them so that it made her smile
Today she loves grandchildren the same
No girls there are in frills ___tame
The creek keeps on flowing to the sea
The land is mostly stripped of trees
(This is my adaptation of Robert Frost's poem "The Birthplace". I hope that it does not insult
I do not know?
I never did the
''He loves me not....
He loves me'' game
I already knew nobody loved me
so why should I listen
to a stupid flower?
I did make wishes
after the bloom died
and it was tiny spikes of fluff
waiting to blow away
till next year.
I hated wasting my time
but I couldn't resist.
''If there's even a small hope
that this will work....
I've got to try! ''
I would find a spot
where nobody could see me
and I'd whisper
my one wish
the same wish
Thousands of dandelions
by my pleading breath.
I never told a soul
I wished to be happy
with a husband
who loves me
and kids who love me.
I wished so hard...
I never thought
One evening, much like any other
striated feathers of pinks, and deepest primrose
colored the clouds with facets of light tapering inward
Traces of gold between each color
as deep and clear as the sages
A red sun overhead, grown weary with seasons,
did not seem to notice that we were mother and child
Whispering sounds of emerald breezes
did not label me wise, nor her naive'
We were two who walked equally side by side
She lifted her voice,
and spoke with an eloquence I had not heard before,
and it was just as the twilight calls to the stars....
so that they will know just what to do
Young spruces stood bolt upright,
every twig stiff with interest, and with deep respect
at her every word
as if they were watching transformation in tandem,
an exchange so delicately detectable
That in one clinging moment, to the other,
one of us was letting go of childhood,
and one was letting go of the child
Both of us looking to the sky for recognition
I watched the sycamore shed beneath the load of spent yellow and gold
Letting them softly go, without remorse
while I did the same
The rules said “one parent not two”
Good for me as I only had you
No selection; no one to choose
Who is this parent; just follow the clues
Next rule; write something “profound”
Something good or something that makes you frown
This one was easy
Considering all you ever said was greasy
“You stupid _____”
This one was rich
“Go get the belt”
Not satisfied till there was a welt
The pain is still felt
How about “you swine”
Became a preference in time
Not “go to bed”
Followed by a blow to the head
So hard could have become brain dead
Your scars are still here
Your pain I still wear
Your mistakes I still bare
Your voice I still hear
Your secrets I now declare
Your presence I no longer fear
Your wrong doings I am aware
Your hate is replaced with tender loving care
Did you follow the clues
Who's this in reference to
Someone you want to be related to
Perhaps it’s someone you already do
This is my parent… I wish it were untrue!
**For "My Parent" contest sponsored by Francine Roberts.
* Honorable Mention
Tell me of your peace.
Let it tell your story now
Of trials and tribulations, a tale not of dreams
Weary from a journey of self-discovery
My child, know the comfort in your peace
You feel hope in this familiar place
As it gently sloughs the pain away
Tell me of your peace
In which we all are blessed and free
Search throughout your soul sweet child
Peer not within your cluttered mind
Look out to rest your tired eyes but do not let them see
Solace found strewn upon daily thoughts is fleeting at it's best
Lasting merely moments, in untouched souls a true peace
Oh yes! You'll know when you arrive but only you will know
The world will melt away as a candle left under the blazing sun
Away away, until you feel home again, an unguided familiar scene
An innocence once lost is restored, all sins suddenly forgiven
Soaking this in with relucant ease,
Breathe it deep with a slow release
Take it in, delight in details you discover
Be calm here child, please have no fear, I am here
You are safe in this place of yours, no hurt no tears
We share not the same peace, no no
Unique to each of us, yet stranger to none
Trust in more than what you see, know beauty is within reach
We share this unspoken bond of freedom from ourselves
Please young one, listen closer now
I say, leave it all behind you love, it will only weigh you down
Cleanse yourself of careless words and careful lies
I know you're weary, let go of all you carry
Don't be afraid, here you are burden free
Trust in you, blessed one, it's easier than you believe
Sweet child, tell me now if you see
Peace resting deep within
Waiting for you
For you to let it be
Dramatic Verse (Verse Drama)
am so special
won't suck you dry
need to be someone
have such anger
am a stranger
to myself, myself
I promise to me
to let myself be free
I WILL do better
I WILL forget
the things said
be better, no regret
I will be better
I already am
by Amy Swanson
Running to me
with big hugs
and even bigger brown eyes
smile full of mischief
arms thrown around my neck
--- almost choking me!---
"I love you Mommy!"
my little "Long-Legs"
how fast you have grown.
Almost as tall
as your short mama
*but then that wouldn't take much*
remembering a time
when my little Long-Legs
... my long-legged girl...
had little bitty
just learning how to toddle around the house
crawling faster than I could walk
running to keep up with her...!...
purple baby food plums smeared across a happy smiling mouth
full of giggles
with no idea how cruel this world can be;
Oh how time flies.
She's nine next week
toddler toys long gone;
she wants a bike
so she can ride like the wind --
already the taste of freedom in her mouth
already the feel of freedom in her spirit
away from me.
But she knows
I will always
*and, somehow, forever*
watch over my little girl
even when she is no longer little.
She smiles at me
teeth slightly crooked
hair brushed all by herself
and asks "Do you like my style?"
already planning her fashion agenda
like every "big girl" does.
My almost-nine year old girl
born on lucky clover day
March 17th, 2000
the day she changed my life
so grown up, so soon...
and I know more is on the way.
What I don't know
is how this mother's heart will fare
when one day she leaves.
You make my life complete
full of tickles and giggles
I love you so,
my little Long-Legs.
I I I
I Not Afraid
F At All
L Be Free
w m Curviest
i a Thing you’ve
l k Ever Seen
d e Self-Esteem
s Is higher than
E Love flows deeper
N Surges Greater
c Than any river
r Emotions as unchanging as the sea
a Modern Day
z Super Hero
y Working hard
I To defeat
L Sexual Inequalities
D Worthy of stealing
Any man’s fancy
[Dedicated to the Women, the strong, the brave, the merciful]
[The Mothers, the Daughters, the Wives]
[ the women who make up our lives]
A Mother’s Love…
How precious is the love
of a mother’s heart!
Even as a child… It’s there from the start.
A mother’s love knows
no boundary or limit.
It’s often shown by how
much the mother gives it!
Whether her children are
young or growing old…
And whatever circumstances
in life may unfold…
Her love is continually
a solid foundation…
That can’t be removed, torn or shaken.
Her love is what is
a “guiding force…”
Even if her children’s lives
stray “off course.”
I’m thankful for the love
my mother’s given…
It’s surely influenced
the way I’ve been livin’!
To all of our mothers across
our great nation…
May we show them our love
Their love has stood and
endured the test of time…
I’m so glad that one of them is MINE!
By Jim Pemberton
Elegy to Child Lost
Passion's love oft tempts despair
Casts a prideful cosmic dare--
Like Prizing Joy's most intimate caress
Babe snug beneath a mother's breast
Senses at this time are keen
There's no secret kept between
Loving mother, wriggling babe--
Wanted , dreamed of, much delayed
But entwined twin was also loved--
Some say Nature's method proves
That one twin may give all to mate---
But this fatal sacrifice must decimate.
Only mother's eyes would feel babe's smiles--
or sense those legs that wandered miles
And daring feet that danced in tunes while
Arms swam in gentle Celtic croons.
When babe vanished--not a sound.
Mother 's grief was not allowed.
Tempted so to trail behind
Escaping shattered troubled mind.
Squelching sorrow's hungry arms
She Tried erase babe's fluttering charms
Never spoke of-- never mourned.
By her husband she was warned
Was best forget a child so early lost--
Funerals, gravestones--such a cost--
But the years have called babe near,
Mother's journal writ in tears:
'Please forgive my selfish heart.
Repressed from all --this tragic part
I felt your sacrificial act--
You left your cherished twin intact'.
There is no law of random acts
Doctors examine data facts
It may be --that in the womb
When both spring flowers cannot bloom
One bold twin refrains to eat
Compels the other to complete
Hardy growth that life requires---
Sparks survival's crucial hours.
Not an accident 'tis sure--
Boldest spirits blossom pure.
Victoria Anderson-Throop ©
The more I try to reassure my mother,
The more she suspects...
The concerns and cares I shoulder,
I conceal and collect.
Her ears keen to the notes I offer,
My anxiety she dissects.
Taking on more as I grow older,
Less her fear affects.
Understanding her and less eager,
I share all; she accepts, connects.
I do not know?
I found myself.
I remembered who I am…
or who I used to be.
I remembered that
I was strong.
I was a fighter.
I was a survivor.
I was steel.
but I would never break.
I remembered that
I am my father's daughter.
And I don't need someone,
to lift me up,
to carry me,
to save me.
I can lift myself up.
I can overcome anything.
I can save myself.
I am my father's daughter.
Our family crest,
It is what he believed.
What he lived
and it is what I honour.
What I won't ever forget.
I am strong.
I am a fighter.
I am a survivor.
I am steel.
but I won't ever break.
And I don't need saving.
I can save myself, thank you.
that to my innermost core,
I am…my father's daughter.
I do not know?
written 10th Aug 2013
I am God's child, first and forever
I am known by many different titles, a daughter
I am a wife
I am a mother
I am a grandmother
I am a poet
I am by several ways, known as a sister
I am an acquaintance
I am a loyal friend
I am a stranger
I am a cousin
I am an Auntie
I am a niece
But who is this person, they all call "Denise?"
She is a child to God
She is a niece
She is a cousin
She is a stranger
She is a loyal friend
She is an acquaintance
She is known to many, a sister
She is a poet
She is a grandmother
She is a mother
She is a wife
She is known as a daughter to many
She is everything, she'd ever dreamed her life to be....
She is happier than she ever imagined possible
SHE IS "DENISE"
So many thoughts come to mind
If only I could really go back in time
Change or undo my life’s violent and sexual crimes
Tell those around me to open their eyes
Pay Attention to the signs
If only one wish could really rewind
Those pedophilic hands of my life-time…
Then I stopped and started to think
Who would I be if this didn’t happen to me?
What of the woman I’d come to be
The wisdom I’d come to see
And my children who’s lives are abuse free
As a result of my past… my history…
Now, with eyes wide and mind free
Heart pounding, air, LOVE and life in me
Blessed with children to change my legacy,
Equipped with words and strength to share my story… my poetry
I’d wish only to open the eyes of the blind
The mouths of the abused and the hearts of our society…
I’d make them see… I’d make them see
So no other child has to end up like me…
** For the "If I Had One Wish Contest"
She is but eleven
She is my angel sent from heaven
She came to me at the tender age of twenty one
She gave me reason not to run
She kept me grounded
She was the reason my heart pounded
She made my life brand new
She healed my heart through and through
She showed me how to love
She showed me what that stuff is made of
She keeps me on my toes
She won't allow me to wallow in my woes
She senses when my spirits are low
She will never let it show but
She always seems to know
She amazes me every day she grows
She knows when to lean in and give me a hug
She knows when I've had a bad day and not to bug
She jumps in before I ask
She completes every task
She excels in academics and dance
She shows me what can be if given a chance
She picks up my good bits and pieces
She continues to leave me speechless
She always wears a smile
She is my amazing child
She is my first, no one is above
She is my first true love
She is my daughter Alaya
Before her I was a zero
She is my only HERO
** For Crystal Wilkins My Hero contest
* 1st Place
"Each experience is locked within my heart
and I hold the key"...Constance La France
The doctor came from the operating room
Blood splattered scrubs, blood on glasses and said
"We've given her four pints of blood"_clouds loom
The doctor came from the operating room
A heavy mist covered my heart with gloom
Pondering gravity of red blood that bled
The doctor came from operating room
Blood splattered scrubs, blood on glasses, and said
Contest:Fragment Of Life
Sponsor: Constance La France
Penned by Sara Kendrick
This twenty-second day of
*Note _Click on about this poem
~ Letter to Mother ~ If I die before I wake
To my mother I would write
I never understood why you were so cruel ~ or why you had an iron fist rule
Why you beat me till black and blue ~ for something as simple as not tying my shoe
Why you were always enraged ~ why interest in my life you never engaged
Why did I get the worst of the abuse ~ when I was the best behaved and did as
you told me to
Why did you fight to win custody back ~ when maternal instincts you knew you
Your torment instilled in me ~ fear, depression, insecurities, and anxiety
This is the reason my judgment was flawed ~ mother you should be appalled
Even though it was horrific living through this ~ I love you and for your pain to be
healed I always wished
Even though my body will be gone ~ Even though you may morn
My heart is no longer scorn ~ I thank you for being born
My life resulted in the lives of more ~ Lives that I love and adore
This is the greatest gift you have given me ~ I don’t want or ask for more... I'm FREE
I do not know?
(for the countless women, names unknown, who bore the brunt of Apartheid, and who fought the racist system at great cost to themselves and their families, and for my mother, Zubeida Moolla)
Pregnant, your husband on the run,
your daughter, a child, a few years old,
they hauled you in, these brutish men,
into the bowels of Apartheid's racist hell.
They wanted information, you gave them nothing,
these savage men, who skin happened to be lighter,
and white was right in South Africa back then,
but, you did not cower, you stood resolute,
you, my mother, faced them down, their power,
their 'racial superiority', their taunts, their threats.
You, my mother, would not, could not break,
You stood firm, you stood tall.
You, like the countless mothers did not break, did not fall.
You told me many things, of the pains, the struggles,
the scraping for scraps, the desolation of separation
from your beloved Tasneem and your beloved Azad,
my elder sister and brother, whom I could not grow
up with, your beloved children separated by time, by place,
by monstrous Apartheid, by brutish men,
whose skin just happened to be lighter.
You told me many things, as I grew older,
of the years in exile, of the winters that grew ever colder.
You were a fighter, for a just cause,
like countless other South African women,
you sacrificed much, you suffered the pangs,
of memories that cut into your bone, your marrow,
you resisted a system, an ideology, brutal and callous and narrow.
Yes, you lived to see freedom arrive, yet you suffered still,
a family torn apart, and struggling to rebuild a life,
all the while, nursing a void, that nothing could ever fill.
I salute you, mother, as I salute the nameless mothers,
the countless sisters, daughters, women of this land,
who fought, sacrificing it all for taking a moral stand.
I salute you, my mother, and though you have passed,
your body interred in your beloved South African soil,
you shall remain, within me, an ever-present reminder,
of the cost of freedom, the struggles, the hunger, the toil.
I salute you!
(for the brave women of South Africa, of all colours,
who fought against racial discrimination and Apartheid)
"I shall be telling this with a sigh"
My thoughts they roil like waters dark
in the abyss of blackest night
with memories of mother’s book marks
of Longfellow read by lamp light.
She called in the room around me
the patter of other small feet,
her gentle voice fetched angels
Oh, rhymes how they astounded me
like lullabies soft and so sweet.
All fearsome shadows, she’d dispel
Maxine, my queen read Tennyson
and the Charge of the Light Brigade
a little girl dreamt of caissons
roll and thunderous cannonades.
To be so brave the small child mused
mother’s small, precious, heroine
what would it take to stand so strong
without father, and not confused
What words where the linchpin
to right mother’s tell tale wrong.
Such sad inspiration*.. mother
but a champion you were born.
You’re adored before all others
yet, tears bring memories forlorn.
So, dreams stream on of Mother Goose
three kittens and their mittens.
My visions of your fleeting smile
return almost every night,
and your spirit comforts, lightens
sights, if only for a little while.
The Look On My Child’s Face…
Just yesterday I noticed a look of
love on my child’s face.
This happened in a most “ordinary place.”
It was in our home.
A place by God’s design.
I felt God speaking to my heart
this particular time.
I didn’t take any time to
stop and realize,
The look of love and innocence
in my child’s eyes.
“Am I being the kind of Dad
God wants me to be?”
“Am I being an example of Christ
for my child to see?”
Have I been demonstrating my
teaching my kids God’s love,
May a Christ-like life in my kids
be clearly seen and understood,
As one day they will
grow into adulthood.
I hope that one day my
Children will say:
“I want to be like my Dad-
every single day!”
By Jim Pemberton
A prayer for my girls ~ If I should die before I wake
To my girls I would write
Mommy will always love you ~ I never placed anyone above you
You are my world and the reason for my life ~ I did my best though I didn’t get
You both gave me the courage and strength to fight ~ Your lives gave me direction
and your love was my light
Even though my body is no longer here ~ don’t you fear ~ my spirit is always near
Each night you get on your knees to pray ~ remember this prayer ~ Promise me to
“Dear God please tell mommy we said hi
That we understand that all people must die
We know she is safe with you in the sky
She is an Angel with wings and can now fly
We promise to make her proud
Our dreams will reach beyond the clouds
Tell her that we are okay and we remember her everyday
She is in our hearts where she will forever stay
We know she did her best ~ and that her soul can now rest
Please tell mommy we love her again and again…”
He oozed charm, this aging lothario.
Gallantry was his middle name.
Yet, he lived in the past
in the glory days of football wins
denying his saggy abdomen
blind eye, and fungus crusted feet…
Gallantry was his middle name
and he wheedled his way into the affections
of many lost and lonely woman.
When the only women
of true importance in his life
were his daughters…
He lived in the past
slept with his dog, and swam in Speedos
bald pate shining in the sun.
Once, long ago he was married to a cheerleader.
She’s stopped cheering, as his life filled
with their daughter and she was no longer his girl.
Caught between life, death,
and the deep blue sea, he swam.
Arriving at the home of each new prospective conquest
with the requisite flowers and small talk.
The glory days of football still danced
before his single good eye upon the giant bar screen,
where he served mimosa’s and other drinks with a wink.
He smiled with a well-worn charm, and didn’t touch the stuff.
Still, he tried. But, most times,
he felt more at home
with his daughters…
I can't hear the words as they come from my mouth
I can't hear the screams as they work their way out
As I write all is seen is a blur and blank moment and
Once recovered sensed the words were written,not
Even a look to see what was written only to know it
Was there.Sleepless night,taunt filled faces horde my
Dreams.Have this made me fall so low no longer am I
Am I able to stand on my own to feet.How many times
Will you make me cry before claiming only to being a
Witness in a crime,your crime. Putting on that face
Working the crowds with amazing easily,how I hate you
Yes all the thing I think about revolve around you.
How many times have I witness myself wound my self
With your blade? As though under a spell doing as order
Without a cry to the world what made me so diligent ?
But no longer can you be a witness,No longer can I be
A witness to these crimes that been committed.Be us both
Sinners be us both lovers be that we both be cursed
We shall witness our sins become whole and the love in
Which we share spread further and further like the flames
Of hades. May there be peace for sinners in the next world.
We are both witnesses and at the same time
We are both sinners one day to become consumed by our
Own darkness how far will we fall until that moment comes?
May we be good may we be bad may we fall may we live may
May we die or carry on we are the Witnesses We are the Sinners
To this world and the next.