Saturday, March 2, 2013

Baby Girl

Portrait of a Mother and Daughter
oil painting by Emile Munier
(French 1810-1895)

"You can run around the whole world,
and you'll still be you,"
said the wise old grandma.

But she was young. She had to run,
her heart ruled by her head.
She needed to make that journey Out 
before she could make the journey In.

Off she went, with a bad-ass man,
cruelty glinting in his eyes,
a smirk at the woeful grandma,
holding the baby left behind.

In time, she returned, all spent and sore,
alone, and hurting in her heart.
There was a two year old girl 
with bouncing black curls
sitting with her grandma by the fire.
The young woman wrapped her arms 
around the child, rocking.
"Baby Girl," she crooned,
"Baby Girl. I will take care of you.
I will never leave you again."
And the wise old grandma knew
that, at last, her girl had learned
the true meaning of love.

At Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads, Susie has set us a timely challenge: to speak out against violence against women. I have been thinking of how often women are abused down the generations, girls watching their mothers' suffering, learning that what they perceive as  "love" feels like pain. It takes a huge shift to break that pattern and come to understand that love shouldn't hurt.

I actually dreamed this scenario the other night. When I woke, I thought  perhaps the baby girl in the dream was the young woman's inner child. Either way, it was a child who needed love, nurturing and never to be abandoned again.

Please do check out the links at Toads, where you will find other poets writing on this important topic.


  1. You channeled wisdom,
    then passed it on to us.

    Very cool. Thanks.

    ALOHA from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    ~ > < } } ( ° > <3
    > < } } ( ° >

  2. I was thinking if only we could keep the innocent child safe before reading your note. I think both possibilities are alive in the poem. I hope that men know we know that they are capable of being any of the three figures in the poem, but that joining the movement to make change will take more than knowing that.

  3. Such wisdom here...thankfully a woman returned to be the mother she should be.

  4. Just this week, I was saying something similar to my English class. I urged them to break the cycle of abuse: just because your mother was beaten or your grandmother, does not mean it is alright for you to be beaten. It wasn't right then and it isn't right now.

    I like your interpretation of the baby girl as the young woman, and her need to go back to her own mother to find her worth again.

  5. Such a sad reality is this beautifully written poem. So many young girls do end up in the same type of abusive relationships as their mothers, grandmothers etc. Hopefully bringing attention to this vicious cycle will teach future generations of women that no one deserves to be mistreated.

  6. Sad and haunting, but Baby girl changed and didn't repeat the vicious cycle! This is how the world changes! One generation at a time-
    It is never right...
    Well done Sherry!!!

  7. I love the interpretation of your dream that perhaps Baby Girl was her own young self. Very tenderly done, Sherry, and I love the gentle acceptance of the grandmother to allow the young woman to find her way, in her own time even though she had to learn the hard way.

  8. I am thinking...yes, the child needs...but we need the child, or where else would we put our love? Nice write!

  9. I'm so glad your poem ended on a note of hope and true love. Too often the abuse filters down through generations, infecting all it touches.

    Here's a scream for all those who are or have been victims of abusive relationships.

  10. yes,I really sensed an inner child, wonderfully done

  11. Fantastic poem, Sherry! I, too, thought about abuse being passed down through generations.

  12. and how does the damage continue when children are impacted by violence? countless children, every day, experiencing and witnessing violence? what will it take to end the pattern? i love this snapshot, Sherry. so much empathy and love.

  13. Sherry, this is beautifully expressed. I like that at the end the girl DID learn to know the true meaning of love.

  14. Such an important message. Liked the ending to the poem-glad that she came back :)

  15. The last stanza warmed my heart. Some of us learn our lessons in precisely this way, don't we?

  16. So very wise Sherry. If only a mother staying with a child could always keep her safe.

  17. This is a very tender non-judgmental write Sherry. I've worked with abused women and they sure need patience and compassion. Some learn, others don't. Thank you for writing about this.

  18. Darling Sherry,

    This weekend Inas came home, baked cookies and slept with her younger sisters. We giggled about new boyfriends (first) and danced our gamelan in the living room. Inas drove the car out on her own for the first time too delivering cookies to her best friend who's sick - those 15 minutes saw me muttering my prayers under my breath while cooking spaghetti for dinner.

    In our busy world, I find these, the most precious of moments. And while I enjoy this blissful moment, I never forget, how easily this could have been different, scary and dark.

    Life is so precious.

  19. Every girl learns this the hard way. Thank God for friends and family who give us true love. It's sad n hurtful that men are all mocking smirk faces.

  20. FIRST CLASS response! A tender, awesome poem and the perfect artistic accompaniment.


I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!