Some days I welcome the frost in the mirror,
too unbreakable to reflect crystal thoughts,
Stones rattling for each word thrown in discarded arrogance,
Barely skimming the surface as I casually toss them aside.
Some days I am on the run,
A fake criminal with no record, only the sentence has already been given,
Judge and jury lining up one by one
Ready to hurtle sugar coated undertones of narrative, silent accusations.
However far away I am sent,
Through the raging underbelly of a swirling mist or banished to the darkest corners,
I still exist
I am ready.
I have survived!
© Elizabeth Shane – (From Behind the Mask)
Available on www.elizabethshane.com
Thank you to the survivor who submitted this poem, and the five other poems published over the past few days. We really appreciate you sharing your words with us and other survivors.
since you started to help my broken
Comfort film with
Sleeping with you – my naked person
Valentine’s day chocolates and prosecco in
When the stitches
I held onto
Violent crying I can’t (stop)
Raw emotions that open
up the wound
Force memories back
But you are here
Holding onto me too
fish and chips and
Your voice comforting me on the train
I was broken
I was no longer me
Now I am me
Me with you
i want to write a happy poem
but while I’m still sad
you make me safer
anchored to your body
my fingertips graze over your chest
following to your nipples and collarbone
kissing you, chin to cheek
your lips on my neck and hands giving me heat
i wear your hoodie to have your arms around
outlining my smiles with your finger
we wait for the miles between us to cease
your hands in my hair again
brushing your fingers through it
you like my cheeky grin
hands that warm mine
and fit as if by design.
i smiled through the pain in the morning
as I knew you’d have to
i kissed you goodbye
now I can only cry
i feared the thud would be heard through the
violence echoes in the silence
now I just have blood
a bruised body
and pain where I sit
is this what I get for being called fit?
i let you in
so I deserved the cries of pain
i felt the shame
it’s my fault, I repeat
a mantra, as I destroy the sheets
my mind in constant retreat
the guilt is all
You’re my ghost.
In the back of my mind.
The night we spent together haunting me.
Where are you?
Your name makes me shudder.
I recognise the smell of you.
Leave me alone!
Invading my thoughts and fantasies…
Biting kisses, forceful pushes and cries of pain.
Your fingers snake around my neck.
In my mouth.
I beg, I turn away, push you off me.
Again and again and again.
Removing your hand again, again.
Clutching at the mattress with no relief.
Moaning in fear of force.
Squeezing me tight.
I close my eyes.
And then your hand goes again.
I go quiet.
Staring at my shelves.
Block it out.
I sleep with my arms around you,
We kiss goodbye.
Sitting in the showers I cry.
I can’t sit.
I can’t pee.
What’s happened to me?
Only I cry and hold the pain.
In the darkness you push my head down again.
Body broken, bruised in bad places.
I must carry on, this is just another
The chance I have you after your call to meet
Excuses at every block.
Confusion at every question.
Every place on campus,
A tag on Facebook,
Snagging at memories.
Your words burn.
I struggle to see anything worth inside of me.
A survivor has sent some poems to share with here with other survivors. Watch this space for more poems.
I had my first crush when I was 11.
Soft, excited, feelings – a high five, a hello made my day.
I was 12 when I was first asked out by a boy.
I was 13 when the boy sitting next to me in Geography class asked if a guy had popped my cherry yet.
I was 14 when I was first catcalled and honked at on a run.
I was 18 when I was told I was expected to dress more conservatively.
And at 19 I was sexually abused and I thought my life was over.
The pain that night – 29 November 2019 – was so bad I thought I was going to die.
To me it came out of nowhere and it was a completely random event.
So when at 20 for voicing my opinion that went against the leader of our group I was called aggressive.
I thought no.
I am strong. I am feisty. And you don’t like that I have a voice, which goes against yours.
But too bad, I am here
Pearl has contributed a poem about missing the Arts with Hearts group during lockdown.
Arts With Hearts doesn’t ask: How, When, Where, Why???
Are you sure???
They say: “Come in, have tea,
Sit and watch, express yourself, feel free”.
No, I can’t crochet, even now,
But , no matter, I give myself, my time,
My laughter, I join in, I hear my sound,
Feel safe, feel part of life,
Not numb, feel I could be, even ME.
I’ve noticed colours, CLAY,
Solid, ever-changing stuff,
Smoothness, curves scored into rough.
Textured people in my life are
Tangled, woven, knitted, knotted,
I make solid shapes, smooth, reliant, true,
You might say, “But why, for who?”….
ME, of course,they’re mine , I did that!!
I made that sparkle shine, dull hue, loud voice of colour.
Prettiness trapped inside me
Pours out in liquid, fountain-free,
Art can SHOUT,
Can whisper fear,
Can cry in pain,
Can show : “I’M HERE!!!”.
“The poem is talking about how we say we’re “fine”, when people ask and don’t show how we really feel, for various reasons, and how important it is to find people (like at RSVP) who we can tell how we really feel“
Pearl is fine, Pearl is free
But Pearl is trapped
And Pearl is me.
You only see the one on show, really not the one you know.
Sawn in half each side divides,
Pearl is living in two lives.
Scythed in two by Virus rules, locked at home,
No fun in schools, no friends to play, out of Control,
My head is cut down to my soul.
Isolation ward is home, only help is down a phone,
No touch, no love, no shielding arm,
Alone and scared of any harm,
Rocking, starving,all those things self-abusive harming brings,
Making sense more than the lies, strategies and stingy eyes
From crying. Loss of self, loss of me, controlled, restricted, power-free.
I’m needing help from someone who sees past the mask
And guides me through to overcome the big deride,
My introverted “spoilt” child.
Yet out in life no-one can tell,
Pearl is happy, Pearl is well,
Pearl is fun, she makes you laugh,
But really Pearl is cut in half.
This poem from Pearl is about the impact of Covid on families and children.
I put my hands out, little boy
To dance together, act your play,
But: “What about the germs?” you say.
You child of four,
You precious one
No touch, no contact,
No more fun?
Reminding me who should know more-
Covid rules, Covid law.
What life is this?
Can’t dance my ‘son-
A person’s life barely begun-
Like this !!?
It must be wrong ?
What’s in your head?
What make you of this?
Masked adults, mustn’t kiss
We never had before like this,
Rules on rules
Locked inside out,
Timeless hours, screaming sirens, fallen flowers.
Trembling armies work to save
Children, finance, dying
Patients from their graves,
Screened by plastic PPE,
I feel so helpless,
We never knew, our lives were safe,
We held each other dear and far,
You saw my smile,
My joy in you, life on pause we’re living now,
I pray there’s time for us to see
A different future,
You and me.