Erin Belieu

(1967 - / Ohama / Nebraska)

Against Writing about Children


When I think of the many people
who privately despise children,
I can't say I'm completely shocked,

having been one. I was not
exceptional, uncomfortable as that is
to admit, and most children are not

exceptional. The particulars of
cruelty, sizes Large and X-Large,
memory gnawing it like

a fat dog, are ordinary: Mean Miss
Smigelsky from the sixth grade;
the orthodontist who

slapped you for crying out. Children
frighten us, other people's and
our own. They reflect

the virused figures in which failure
began. We feel accosted by their
vulnerable natures. Each child turns

into a problematic ocean, a mirrored
body growing denser and more
difficult to navigate until

sunlight merely bounces
off the surface. They become impossible
to sound. Like us, but even weaker.

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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  • Rookie - 499 Points Michelle Claus (5/2/2014 1:15:00 PM)

    This poem is very well written. It was submitted in 2003 (11 years ago) , so I wonder if Erin Belieu feels the same way more than a decade later.... We humans are multifaceted - oceans, for sure - and the sunlight bounces off the surface, and it also penetrates the surface to an extent. This poem is a vivid study of our iniquities. Has Ms. Belieu answered her poem with a study of our strengths? I hope so, because she's a skilled poet. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 12,422 Points Roseann Shawiak (1/22/2014 1:38:00 AM)

    Good poem. You see the opposite side of children than I do.
    When I write it is of their innocence, beauty, love of life that
    I capture in a poem. Thank you for letting me face the side
    of them that you see. Feel free to read my poems if you like.
    RoseAnn (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Carlos Echeverria (5/2/2013 10:31:00 AM)

    I saw a child entering my office building this morning
    arms up-raised in victory:
    Her mom let her pass
    thru the revolving doors
    on her own. (Report) Reply

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