Thursday, July 24, 2008

Poem of the Week: The Rock and the Dead Child

This is the first poem - and one of the first things - I posted when I restarted this blog a little over six months ago. I wrote it following a therapy session back in 1999. My little voice absolutely insists - against all argument - that I repost it today. I don't know why that is, but usually when my little voice is this loud there's some reason for it. If not, I apologize for repeating myself. I think this is one of the best poems I've ever written. I hope it speaks to you.

October 5, 1999

In my throat is a rock with a dead child inside
Like the petrified fist of some giant god
It wraps around her small corpse
Her legs stick out, limp and dead
And the rock wonders what she is doing there
And why she died
It does not mean her any harm
It does not understand, even,
How she came to lie dormant and frail in it’s grasp
It does not understand, even
Who IT is
It remembers vaguely as though from some dim dream
That she needed to keep quiet
And stop struggling
But struggling against who or what
It cannot say
And it is frightened
By a vague sense of somehow having done wrong
It wishes she was gone
And then wonders who IT is without her
Maybe they are one being and not two
And it did not exist first
But slowly grew around her
Day after day after day
And year after year after year
Never noticing
Until in this moment
Suddenly awakening
It finds her long dead
It keeps thinking of the Wicked Witch of the East
And wishes some Dorothy would come along
And make those legs
So limp and dead,
So small
Shrivel up and go away.
But this is not Oz
Or Kansas either
But some no man’s land
And this body is not some evil witch
But a small child
She can’t be more than four
Silenced in a tomb of oblivious stone
That wishes
With whatever dim heart a stone can hold
That it could let her go,
Could bring her back to vibrant life
Wishes too somewhere in it’s confusion
That it knew how to cry
And wash itself clean
Of this child who holds it as captive
As it holds her.

- Katherine E. Rabenau


Carletta said...

I know this is one of the best poems that you have written because I haven't read anything you've written that isn't good.
I'm not just saying that. You have a way of expressing yourself that I could only hope to achieve in some other lifetime - I know it won't be in this one.
Awesome talent - great poem!

Elise B. said...

Hello, thanks for your comment on my Ruby Tuesday post! The red eyeshadow is definitely different, but if it's applied just on the upper lid, it looks alright. :)
Thanks again for coming by to see my photo.
- Elise

Anonymous said...

That poem made me gasp and made my eyes feel wet. It is beautiful and so sad. Wonderfully written. Thanks for posting it again - otherwise I would never have gotten the chance to read it!

Queen-Size funny bone said...

It was definitely worth repeating again and again. Very telling.

Dianne said...

urban buddha said it best - 'made me gasp'

You truly are amazing and full of soulful light Raven.

pamibe said...

Wow. I had to read it twice. Most lovely and haunting...!

Shelly said...

Beautiful, heartbreaking, a host of why-how-what-if thoughts swirling in my head. I'm really glad you posted it today.

Rambling Woods said...

Oh Raven..that could speak to the small hurt child in all of us. What a talent you have...

Maria Verivaki said...

a very troubled heart-breaking poem - the stone reminds us all of how we are helpless at some time of otehr in a our life