Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hands of Hope ~ You Are Not Alone

Hello, this is Susie Clevenger and I want to wish each of you a Happy New Year! I am hoping this will be a wonderful and blessed year for each one of us.

When Kerry sent out the call to see if we would be interested in starting the new year with collaborative poems I gave a hearty thumbs up! Little did I know that I would be working with Kerry and ours would be the first out of the gate.  Kerry knew there was a subject that was dear to my heart and she made the suggestion that we write a poem about it. 

Hands of Hope ~ You Are Not Alone

Image ~ Duddeston Station ~ Elliot Brown

You wicked child!
And little hands beaten,
Supper denied,
Locked in a cupboard all afternoon.
Naughty boy!
Who speaks for the children’s
inarticulate pain
when parents are to blame?

Precious boy,
I will hold you in your pain.
You are not to blame
for the evil stripes brutal hands
placed upon your body.
I raised the cry to see the
cupboard unhinged.
You will never be locked
in darkness again.

You filthy tramp!
And a fist to the other eye,
Hair pulled,
Kicked to the floor while babies cry.
Dirty slut!
Who hears the women’s pleas
battered again
when husbands are to blame?

Sister, rise from your bruising.
We have heard your voice!
Compassion is now your sanctuary.
Words and fists can no longer batter you.
Their rage has been assigned
a number and metal bars.

You stupid old goat!
And a rough hand at the throat,
Shoulders shaken,
Left naked all night in a stripped-down bed.
Stinky old fool!
Who protects the aged fathers
from unspeakable shame
when children are to blame?

Sir, can you hear me?
This is your home now.
You are safe from hands
that stole your dignity.
You are a veteran decorated
with stars and stripes.
There will be no more wounds
of domestic battle only honor
for a soldier who fought a war for me.

From reading the poem it is easy to discern the topic is abuse. It is a subject I am very familiar with and am passionate about doing what I can to stop and prevent it. Kerry wrote her part as the aggressor and I chose to write my part as the person who gave a helping hand to bring someone out of abuse. She wondered if it was too tough a topic to begin a new year discussing, but I believe it is a perfect time to focus on change.  Each one of us can do our part to see these atrocities ended.

I have included some resources that offer assistance to those who have suffered abuse. 

As poets this is a way we could give our poetic voice to a cause that focuses on violence against women.


LLM Calling said...

what an amazing collaborative poem ladies, really really well done. I agree, it's the start of a new year, so let's use our poetry for good. happy New year.

LLM Calling said...

I thought I'd add in some  great support organisations here in the UK so they're here if anyone looks.

NSPCC - http://www.nspcc.org.uk/

Childline - http://www.childline.org.uk/Pages/Home.aspx

women's aid - http://www.womensaid.org.uk/

Refuge - http://refuge.org.uk/

National domestic violence helpline - http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/

Respect - http://www.respect.uk.net/
Elder abuse - http://www.elderabuse.org.uk/

Age UK - http://www.ageuk.org.uk/e great support organisations here in the UK so they're here if anyone looks.

nspcc -

women's aid -

Teresa said...

This is a perfect way to start the new year. It is amazing how seamlessly the two parts fit together. You'd never know two people wrote this if you hadn't told us. Well done.

Fireblossom said...

*stands up and claps*

This is stellar. I couldn't honestly tell who wrote which until I read the note at the end. This is powerful and timely and a perfect poem to start out with, I think. Sometimes think "the least of these" and how they are treated, is what matters most urgently and reveals the most. Very very well done, ladies.

hedgewitch said...

An excellent collaboration on a topic that needs all the light and exposure it can get. Thanks, ladies, for caring, and for all the helpful links as well. Happy New Year, and may it see some of those you speak of rescued, and some of the ignorance and viciousness of the abuse cycle mitigated by caring people.

Ella said...

I am in awe! YOU both brought to light a difficult subject. We do need its darkness revealed~
I found it brilliant and the timing necessary~

The imagery was vivid and raw, so well done! I love how you two blurred the lines and created a new focus~

Thank you!

Marian said...

thank you, Susie and Kerry. thank you!

Helen said...

Amazing! Punch and counter punch hitting me hard - in my gut.

Happy New Year Toads!

Karen said...

Hard subject to read...hard to write, think, breathe...a punch in the gut, as someone already said, but one we need to wake us up to action! Thanks for the collaboration that, I am sure, made this so powerful, and thanks for the wake-up-call.


Grace said...

A lovely collaborative work, Susie and Kerry ~ Thank you for shedding to light this issue and sharing the links ~

This is a good way to kick off our collaborative effort ~

Happy New Day ~

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Whoa, you two have set the bar so high! An important topic, brilliantly written, in a singular voice, which hit EXACTLY the right note - identifying abuse, and then extending the hand of compassion to ease its pain. Fantastic job, Susie and Kerry. Inspiring!

Mary said...

Excellent thoughtful and thought-provoking collaboration on an important subject. A powerful way to begin the new poetry year.

Lolamouse said...

Bravo, ladies! You handled a tough topic thoughtfully and beautifully. We all need to help and protect each other. May I add animals to the plea?

Kerry O'Connor said...

Thank you all for your wonderful reception of the subject Susie and I worked on together. Susie did an amazing job of gathering the links, and putting it all together. Basically, I just sent her 3 stanzas, and she ran with them to bring this message: Let us all be more proactive in 2013.

Susie Clevenger said...

Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments. It was such a treat to work with Kerry and have her gripping stanzas to respond to. May 2013 find us doing our part to help make the world a better place..

Maude Lynn said...

Beautiful and heartbreaking work, ladies.

Susan said...

Here is the first meat in the sandwich of the new year (pardon me for using this idiom, vegetarians). I'll bite. We cannot empty this day of content and context as if the New Year entered as a naked babe. This poem is beautifully executed and the concern lifted out of the humdrum for us by two amazing poets. Thank you!

vivinfrance said...

The collaboration has produced a poem of more than double strength. I congratulate you both on both the idea and te realisation.

Kay L. Davies said...

Like Fireblossom, I couldn't tell which collaborator was the aggressor, which the victim, until I reached the end. You have both given voices to people who are not yourselves in such a way as to bring the point across with double strength.
It made me cry like a victim, ache like a helpless witness.
Well done, Susie, well done, Kerry. If voices like these ring out through the world, perhaps some day there will be an answer.

Isadora Gruye said...

Sometimes, it takes great courage to write about a topic which is so one sided, but both Toads did a great job of bringing their "roles" to life. well done ladies!

Peggy said...

Great to find this wonderful collaboration on a very important topic. I like the way you each took a different voice--the aggressor and the helper. It is so true and sadly seems endless. Good work Kerry and Susie. I have been away for the holidays and will get back into things again here. My collaboration with Sheri is about half done or maybe more! LOL She has probably about given up on me!

Herotomost said...

When a poem hits this hard and rings this true, it can never be a bad time to raise awareness. This is a tough and sad read but a truth that has to be spoken again and again. You girls did a brilliant job loved every word of it even though the subject is a sad one. Great job.

Susie Clevenger said...

Abuse is such an important cause for me and New World Creative Union's Wednesday Wake-Up call was to share our passion with a cause we support. Since Kerry and I did a tandem piece for a cause I am adamant about supporting I decided to share it with NWCU.

Monty said...

and well your collaboration went, dear friend susie. between you two poets, you made me take that peek outside myself into a world that's sometimes not a pretty place. especially that last stanza. those places of care, so often looked upon as places of desolation, can in reality be an oasis for those who've done so much and we give back so little...oft times because we're just "too busy" thanks to you both. I vow in the coming year not to be "too busy" to find some strangers' smiles


Susan said...

I am so happy to face this piece again--I mean to read it until I am raw. Very effective poetry.