April 24, 2018

The Poetry of Pain by Barbara Lawrence

The Poetry of Pain by Barbara Lawrence

Breaking the Silence

A boy cowers in the corner
as his mother raises a belt
high into the air.

A girl clings to her teddy bear
as Daddy enters her room
in the middle of the night.

A woman fights for her life
as a stranger drags her
into a vacant alley.

So many voices


One voice pierces the darkness,
coaxes courage.

A second voice emerges
from the shadows

then another

then another…

An angry choir swells:

No longer will we
remain silent

No longer will we hide
in secrecy, shame, and fear.

Tonight is the night we shout





She surfs the edge of dreams

dares not sleep too deep

the Bogeyman lurks
in every shadow

eager to tear
flesh from bone.

Snap of twig
outside the window

she bolts up
grasps the knife
beneath her pillow

heart racing
ears tuned
eyes search darkness.

No one’s there
she tells herself,
curls down to sleep

knife in one hand
teddy bear in the other.


Prisoner No More

You sentenced me

my shackles

resentment, memories
of pain inflicted
bind me to you.

I drag my chains
heavy with despair
rusted with tears

long to be set free.

Blame burns my mind.
I cannot, will not forget,
yet my heart seeks peace.

Liberation lies within.
No lock can withstand
the force of forgiveness.

I alone hold the key.



She’d forgotten you were there,
tucked between vertebrae T-8 and T-9

the memory of you brought to mind
by her lover’s inquisitive touch.

He traced your circumference
near-perfect circle
barely the size of a nickel

branded into her back
by a man who would not

really did mean

as he grated her body
against the carpet.

What’s this scar from?
her lover asks.

I forget, she says

spoons his body
imagines her cremation –

imagines your edges
curling in on themselves
like flaming parchment.



You were a malevolent spirit,
drawn to the purity of youth
as if it were blood.

Driven by instinct,
you sucked my last drop

of innocence.

My vitality flowed
through your veins

as you turned me into the undead.



Barbara is a survivor of family violence, incest, and rape. She has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She resides in Connecticut with her rescue cat, Zeke. Barbara has given presentations and lectures on what it is like to live as a survivor of immense trauma, as well as on the stigma of mental illness. She helps other trauma survivors learn to navigate the myriad challenges they face by sharing her own experience and offering a compassionate ear, as well as tools she has learned to use to cope with the effects of trauma. Most importantly, she offers them hope. Click here to visit Barbara’s website.

Tree photograph courtesy FC member Paula Park.





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