Shaken to the Core
By Charlene McCutcheon
Her sad eyes and tear stained face evoked such ambivalent feelings,
I could barely stand to look upon the half-naked child in front of me.
She turned her face toward me with a pained look that begged for help.
Maternal feelings welled up within, for this pitiful tangled haired waif.
Gaping in abject horror, I observed the orphan's frail arms wrapped
tenaciously around a dead rat and held close to her dirt smeared body.
I sensed this sewer 'pet rat' had been her only source of comfort in life.
The one thing she turned to, when sad or hungry, would never again be.
While resisting the urge to gather her up in my arms and dry her tears,
still I desired to sympathize, whispering, "Don't cry honey, it'll be OK".
I lied, knowing it wouldn't; besides what could I do with so little to give?
I turned and walked away not wanting to face my growing sense of lack.
I awoke with a start, shuddering, deeply disturbed and troubled to tears.
Sometimes the vivid images, like a horror movie returning to haunt me,
make me question, "Who is that wretched child so forlorn and dejected?
The memories shake my very soul, the hidden message still eluding me.
From the editor--It is an honor to announce that Charlene McCutcheon is September’s Poet of the Month. She is a talented writer that has been published in print and online. Readers at Whispers relate to her heartfelt poetry. Charlene is a light at our online journal, regularly leaving thoughtful comments which others appreciate. I recently received an email relating that the person was deeply moved by the thoughts Charlene shared about her poem. This is a gift that makes a difference. It is a pleasure to present Charlene with this honor!
Thoughts on “Shaken to the Core”--Right from the onset, Charlene grabbed my attention with vivid imagery. The scene is stark and very moving. Who wouldn’t be shaken by seeing a child hugging a dead rat? The greater question is would you walk away? That thought is haunting, and I’m guessing one that most of us hope we wouldn’t have to face. Charlene surprised me a bit in the fourth stanza, finding out that this was really a dream. That the memory still shakes the narrator gives one hope for humanity. Does this challenge you to make a difference in your own piece of the world? I hope so.
Congratulations and thank you Charlene! I appreciate all you do and have done for Whispers.
Karen O’Leary, Editor