15 March 2011

Street Lamp Child

12:38 am.
Tell me child,
how did you get here?
How did you find yourself
lying in an alley on your back
blows raining down on you
from the fists of other children.

Ragged freeze-frame images
of angry little faces
baby fat of childhood
clinging to sharp angles
of impending adulthood
your dark eyes
staring up in fear
haloed by a street lamp.

Children dying
world imploding
and yet,
in the safety of a quiet town
they fight and scream
kick and pummel
and for what?
Jealousies and slurs
or the unforgivable:
lack of love?

Sirens shatter
what's left of night's peace
as twenty children scatter
in a game of hide-and-seek
no longer an innocent race
I watch as you stumble away
to a home where no one cares
and hope you sleep well, child.
I won't.


  1. oh diana - this is such sad reality - no wonder you wouldn't sleep well - thanks for capturing this with such tenderness in your words - i feel your heart in this

  2. Love how the second stanza seems to occur as if a varied time-sequence in a montage, as if the beating sets in and the victims perception is altered. Poignant, well-written poetry.

  3. wow. this is a very stark reality...i feel sad for the children...i did not realise until today but child poverty is at an all time high in the US since the depression...which adds even more angst...

  4. All we ever want to do is keep our children safe Diana. It's a cruel reality, written from a personal perspective which makes it all the more poignant x

  5. Thanks Claudia, Adam and Brian for your great comments :-) I wish I could say this was all from my imagination. And Adam you nailed how I wanted the second stanza to feel, thanks much. These kids can't blame their actions on poverty, they arent poor except in love.

  6. Thanks Shân for your thoughts :)

  7. Oh my! My breaking heart cries over this piece. There is such a cruelty in children today...my own daughter has been a victim. No physical blows, but in the long run the bruises inside take much longer to heal. It's when you try to have a converstaion with the parents of the tormentors that the truth becomes very discouraging indeed, because they don't care. They have the real world to deal with, and it's a bloody shame they don't include the children they are raising to be a part of it. Ooops...I'm prattling away, guess you've struck a nerve here...I'll stop taking up space now and leave room for others...the piece was amazing!

  8. Heart breaking Diana, the bullying never ceases...generation after generation...small village to large city... heart breaking.

  9. Oh this is SO sad and moving...and alas, a real reality for many children today. Your poem will touch a chord with a lot people. Well, well written Diana x

  10. Thanks once again everyone for the great feedback...it's appreciated very much :)

  11. Beautifully written,Diana. One of your best on a difficult, heart breaking topic.

  12. what a haunting image you paint. well done, and so realistic.

  13. The scene set, drama unfolding, folding again... flashback and you got us. We all connected. I can still see the poet walking away in the rainy dark...

  14. Dear Diana

    Ahh!! So emotional and your last line was powerful.. I could see it all and then I can also see you not sleeping at all makes me feel sad with heavy heart... You have painted a strong image here with your words..
    Thanks for sharing.

    ॐ शांति ॐ
    Om Shanti Om
    May peace be... praying for People of Japan
    Connect me at Twitter @VerseEveryDay

  15. you paint a tragic picture with haunting imagery.

  16. Beautiful and hauntingly sad.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  17. This is becoming the reality for more and more children today. A facebook friend posted the recent 60 minutes segment about child poverty being close to 25% in the U.S. We need to open our hearts to all the suffering in the world today and realize that some of the pain we're inflicting on others is within our power to stop through our choices and legislation. I remain hopeful that we will remain awakened after the Japanese tsunami/nuclear meltdown (or after any disaster) instead of returning to a slumber before the quake shook us to our core...

  18. Incredibly heart-wrenching Diana, so true it can be such a brutal world where those as adults teach the youth that those kinds of things are okay...or even more so not teaching them that it isn't....my youth was not so sweet and I was always out of place/ had moments where I wanted to be out of place, with it plenty of bullying too. I've forgiven all yet to forget...These kinds of things have spanned generations, WE ALL NEED a change....excellent work Diana ~April

  19. Dark, disturbing, effective stuff.