Skip to main content

CHILD/SELF by Margaret Vidale

One reason I started writing about my own experiences of being abused was to give a voice to those who are still afraid to speak out…

I was one of them for most of my life.  It was not until I reached my sixties that my outrage overcame my fears. It took me a long time to reach the point where I could tell my truth, and poetry is the only vehicle I have been able to use to reach the larger world.

Child/Self is my one and only prose poem.  It is a perspective on the lifelong damage of child abuse, an attempt to show how survivors can become emotionally stuck in one part of their development and continue to grow in others.  I am in my seventies now, and am still impacted by my childhood abuse every day.

I know the subject of child abuse is a tough one, but it is so prevalent and damaging in our society. I very much hope my words will help other survivors to speak out in their own ways. 

by Margaret Vidale

Two daughters followed tradition’s path,
leading to grownup lives in the outside
world.  My third child, however, refuses to
leave home.  Her fear and neediness  
exhaust me.  She stopped growing around
age three, when she let herself realize
no one was going to protect her. That’s when
she melded to me, insisting I carry her
for the rest  of our lives.  It’s a daily struggle
to pull myself away, inch by resistant
inch.  Sometimes I just give up and read her
poetry; she likes Anne Sexton and Chase
Twichell.  When we’re having bad dreams,
Brahms’ Lullaby soothes us back to sleep. 
Over the years I’ve managed to increase
the distance between us.  Recently I’ve let
her float on her own for hours.  I’m trying
to convince her that by freeing me, she also
frees herself.  She doesn’t buy it, though. 
She scrunches up her small, pale face and
wails, a shrill and forlorn plea.  So I pick
her up and kiss the soft part on top of her
head.  What else can I do?  I’m all she’s got.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: If you, or someone you know, is recovering from sexual abuse and trauma, I highly recommend my friend Kylie Dasi's new book 'Recovering The Spirit From Sexual Trauma: From the Traumatic to the Ecstatic' available here.

Margaret Vidale returned to her childhood love of writing poetry when she retired from teaching in 2001.  Growing up, reading and writing poetry were ways of escaping severe child abuse.  Many of her early adults poems were efforts to break the silence she carried for most of her life.  Writing  those poems was healing and liberating, which enabled Margaret to branch out into a wider range of subjects.  She feels fortunate and grateful that some of her work has appeared In Pearl, Solstice, Sol-Lit, The Whirlwind Review, Avocet, The  Caribbean Writer, Still Crazy and other small press publications.

~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~ 


Popular posts from this blog

I AM STILL HERE by Janavi Held


This was composed by a very gifted and beautiful soul: a regular contributor to our poetry project, and dear friend of mine, Janavi Held, whose life is gradually being taken from us by an incurable illness. She has been suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Internal Adhesions for six painful years now, and neither her insurance nor the government healthcare will help her. She reaches out to us, her sisters, as a last plea. This is a poem she wrote yesterday on her birthday, in which she offers us the gift of her friendship. May it touch your generous hearts and inspire you to reach out to her in her plight.

Dear Friends,

The last time I was able to leave the house was by ambulance on my way to the hospital. After many long hours in the emergency room I was admitted and taken upstairs. After everyone left I sat on the hospital bed, knees to chest, bracing my body against the pain and trembling.

The light of this cold day was fading. I turned my eyes to the la…

IMAGINE A WOMAN by Patricia Lynn Reilly

This poem invites you to look upon yourself with loving kindness…
Gazing at your own true reflection, you will discover that everything you have longed for “out there” is already within you! I invite you to love your creativity fiercely. Faithfully plant seeds, allowing under-the-ground dormant seasons, nurturing your creative garden with love and gratitude. In the fullness of time, the green growing things thrust forth from the ground. It's a faithful, trustworthy process. AND it takes time and patience.  Blessed is the fruit of your creative womb! I invite you to trust your vision of the world and express it. With wonder and delight, paint a picture, create a dance, write a book, and make up a song. To give expression to your creative impulses is as natural as your breathing. Create in your own language, imagery, and movement. Follow no script. Do not be limited by the customary way things have been expressed. Your creative intuition is original. Gather all of life into your inner c…

DEPRESSION by Veronica Carpenter

Here goes my vulnerability A heart on a sleeve The typical person who looks at me May not see the same me that I live with daily The mind in the air, swirling with possibility When the darkness rallies/gathers/swirls When I am left to solitude This paper-thin garb unzips Here comes depression          
No I don’t want to advertise So flash a smile Those who are close get to see Through the veil, it’s really not that thick Circumstances in life like to stab at the rib Stumble, fall behind the door Shut out the world Feelings well and weigh down Strength hidden deep in the core So deep that sometimes it’s forgotten Here comes the darkness My old friend Sweeping through my every move  Doubts, fears, un-named masked men Oozing like honey, sticking to everything
Patience is required to get on this ride There is a cycle but its pattern is unknown Slowly my gift will unwrap itself Stay on the path Coming back to that which never truly left me Just laid sleeping out of exhaustion from the fight Dormant in winter…