Stone Child

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

Where were you
when they took her
from me?

Stone Child,
I will give you
lips to speak with.

Where were you
When they tortured
And killed her?

Stone Child,
I will give you
eyes to see with.

Where were you
when they threw her
out on the desert?

Stone Child,
I will give you
ears to hear with.

Where were you?

Stone Child,
I will give you
wings to leave this world.

12 Comments

Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

12 responses to “Stone Child

  1. Ethel as a child who was subjected to almost unspeakable abuse I found myself asking this same question over and over. The sad truth is sometimes they were right there seeing and doing nothing. Child abuse is the scourge of the universe. If we are not part of the solution ,then we are part of the problem. Yes I know some will say but what can I do ? I am only one person,well I say sometimes that’s all it takes ONE person who will not turn away but instead become involved .Thank you for sharing this piece and giving that child a voice and her wings

  2. Very well done, heartfelt, I love the it all but love the ending much, thank you… WS

  3. This is beautiful and heart-wrenching

  4. Julie Catherine

    Ethel, I was one of the lucky ones … I survived. And I think all of us survivors ask that same question – where were you? Your poem is starkly beautiful, and touches me at a most fundamental level. As Selena said, thank you for giving that child her voice and wings …

  5. Caddo Veil

    Oh wow–isn’t this beautiful and powerful, Ethel!!

  6. Anna Mark

    I think this poem addresses my worst fear — losing my child at the hands of another. I hear the voice of a mother, and I feel a sense of helplessness with the repeated question, “Where were you when…” And I hear another voice addressing the Stone child, giving her a voice, sight and hearing, but most importantly, “wings to leave this world”. Perhaps this poem was written for a victim/s…for those whom we wish could speak, give us some last words, some way to know…It is very moving.

  7. I was unsure how to interpret these lines, Ethel, but Google led me to the book by Clarissa Pinkola Estes which I can see must have made a big stir in the USA (please forgive my ignorance). Your words express pain, anger, compassion all mixed up in a maelstrom of emotion. I suppose the lines are like an abstract painting, letting readers fill in the details to their own specification. They are certainly very forceful and effective – almost like a hymn with that refrain.

  8. Ethel, a most powerful poem! It’s amazing how strong an impact just a few succinct lines can have.

  9. Thank you for these comments. Love Ethel

  10. Since April was Child Abuse Awareness Month, I find this poem very timely and very important in speaking so eloquently of such horrors done to little ones. Where ARE the caretakers and the guardians when this kind of thing happens?

  11. As with characteristic mastery: few words; so much understanding and emotion.

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