Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Children are not resilient
as those who hurt them like to say.
They are not buoyant in a sea of insecurity,
and do not forget what they see and hear -
or what they never see and hear.
Like a camouflaged white winter rabbit
children know how to be quiet and survive.

Humiliating words, indifferent glances,
missing hugs, a blow to a helpless body
breaks something inside. It heals in a crooked way,
leaving damage that burrows into a wordless place.
One day the unspoken will speak:
talking back to authority, arguing with a teacher.

He will whisper your mama to someone,
ask a little girl to have sex.
She will throw food in the cafeteria,
leave homework on the kitchen table,
start a fight on the playground.

He will choose to do nothing with his worthless life.
She will have babies for the unconditional love.
The wordless pain might resurface and run away,
buy a gun, rob a store and kill someone -
someone in the way of that quiet damage.


Choralgirl said...

Wow. That's powerful!

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

So profound, Diane. And moving.

Kelly Jene said...

So very powerful. You touch the chord of abuse well.

(Come check out the contest on my blog!)


a road to damage begins at youth..

this was amazing!!! and yet very very lonesome too.

Kathiesbirds said...

Wonderful and powerful poem. It should be printed and handed out to all new parents! How true are the words "...a blow to a helpless body breaks something inside, it heals in a crooked way,". It's the unseen damage that is more permanent. So much truth here, Diane. Very well done!

Julie said...

Oh, Diane! I cried when I read this poem. It is so wonderfully powerful. And so necessary!! I agree with kathiesbirds' comment above, this poem should be given to all new parents. All of the hurts you describe are oh too real.

The third stanza is extremely good. It shows some great examples of the outcomes, the end results, the cries for help.

But all of the poem is wonderful. Thank you for sharing this!