The Instincts of Innocence
I reflect upon a word -
To understand more fully what it means,
I think of what it conjures up for me -
childhood times -
those times when I believed all I was taught
from silly things like Santa Clause
to sacred things
like God and true religion.
The way I accepted and then reacted to
my mother’s definitions of what was wrong and right
I think is how I might define
my instincts ….. of innocence.
Having learned well right from wrong in my youth,
my instinct was to feel shock or dismay
when I saw others doing things I deemed immoral,
especially when the doers were those that I looked up to
inside the parameters of my own church.
However, my tolerance for others’ evil doing
increased year by year,
Even in my youth, I never judged them outright.
Those girls and boys that slept around through high school
were judged inside the silence of my mind.
I never shunned them.
A few more decades passed.
Religion’s walls around me were wearing down.
I never did cement the cracks in my walls’ foundation
as did some others in my community -
others who sought to strengthen their own walls
with instincts of innocence espoused inside
the sanctity of chapels.
When was it I let my childhood instincts totally crumble?
Generally more tolerant than many of my friends
that I grew up with, I saw “other” people
with eyes that rarely blinked at what I deemed to be audacity.
Those with different customs, or with strange new religions
I have accepted in my life and tried hard not to judge.
Some things, however, I cannot tolerate.
Societies that put their women down and
people who abuse the weak, emotionally as well as physically,
Never will those actions I accept.
Now I ponder this: Are the instincts of innocence simply tied
to what we learn as children?
I have seen select groups of people shunned
by both the religious and the non-religious
simply for the fact that they are different!
And from whence comes the idea in a child’s mind
to make him think that someone should be shunned?
Do our instincts of innocence simply come
from that time of life
when we looked up to our parents as our Gods,
accepting their every teaching as Gospel
and feeling fear to ever go against them?
Many things we learn are for our good, and
societies would turn to chaos without some guidelines
akin to the ten commandments.
On the other hand,
as a child, I was innocent.
My instinct was to trust in strangers.
Then I learned better.
My instinct was to cringe but say nothing
the time I was inappropriately touched.
Thankfully, since then, I have learned better.
In some instances, I would say,
our instincts of innocence
should be laid to rest!
For a long while now, I’ve been seeing
a small but significant segment of the population
that differs in their sexual orientation or preference.
Those who taught me in my youth
that I ought to be as meek as a child
still point today to ancient Scriptures
as the way for all to keep their innocence.
But my walls have fallen down.
I stand here in the rubble
unsure that I've done right or wrong
in letting many of my childhood ways of thinking
collapse so utterly.
The instincts of my thinking adult mind tell me that
I am not wrong to stand with those who want their right
to the pursuit of their own happiness
despite the fact their actions are denounced
by the very teachings on which I was raised.
Can we ever really lose completely
those thoughts developed from our early teachings,
which led to the instincts of our childhood innocence?
At times, I cannot be completely at ease
in what I have let go of and in who I have become,
for the instincts of innocence
still dwell in the caverns of my mind.
HM in "The Loss of An Innocent Mind" Contest
Now for Poet Destoyers A's 'Deep ( 001)' Poetry Contest
Copyright © Andrea Dietrich | Year Posted 2015
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