Child abuse is an uncomfortable topic. It happens behind closed doors, yet becomes visible through a bruised arm or a cigarette-burned back. Sometimes it is brought to a mandated end in a hospital or courtroom. Otherwise, finality is often reached at the grave.
Most poetry celebrates the romantic experience of love, or it takes a philosophical bent pondering the meaning of existence. What inspired the verses of poet Lenora Trice is the violence afflicted upon the youngest members of society in Voices of the Children: A Poetic Exposé. The poems are not based on actual abuse cases, but the details are so true to life they can likely be found in the headlines of any newspaper across the country.
Trice describes her writing process as a empathetic catharsis. She delves deep to her emotional core in order to connect with the victims' pain. A mother employs her daughter as a prostitute to pay for her drug habit. Parents starve their child to death. A babysitter smothers the baby in her care. A girl is lured to a secluded spot by a molester. The situations are imagined, but the gut reaction Trice causes the reader to experience is real. Horror. Shock. Pity. Disgust. Sympathy. Anger. The intensity of feeling is inescapable.
A mother beats her daughter to death.
When I began to cry, she hit me hard once more
With her pointed toe shoes, she kicked me several times
- "A Matter of Time"
A mother ignores the sexual abuse committed by her husband.
There is one thing, mommy
That I don't understand
Why didn't you notice the blood
On my panties and even in my bed?
If you did notice, mommy, why was nothing ever said?
- "Mommy, Why?"
A father slams the head of his screaming infant into the wall.
You see, my face was unrecognizable
Because much of it was forced back into my head
- "He Didn't Love Me"
Why does Trice write of such unspeakable horrors? The answer is found in the opening lines of her poem "Nobody Listened:"
It's too late for me, but maybe not for you.
Overall, this is a poetry collection that addresses the societal taboo of child abuse in order to raise awareness on how it can be prevented.
Voices of the Children: A Poetic Exposé by Lenora Trice is available for $19.95 at Amazon.com.
A complimentary review copy was provided by Lenora Trice.
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