This Poem was Submitted By: Rachel F. Spinoza On Date: 2003-09-10 09:59:21 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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Right to Life

Pushed and pulled Unwilling And unwanted  Into the world; Coming off crack With nary a “pro-lifer”  To bundle her in anything  But platitudes, Cold and hungry, Sunshine screams Loudly  Day and night This unrepentant sinner Is already blossoming into Faithlessness  She will soon be beyond Any hope of heaven  If heaven demands Any  belief at all in goodness She is a person who breathes  Not a promise of one Not two cells joined Willy-nilly - in a violent rape Or the morning after result Of  first teen - age tryst When he said he would pull out in time And she believed him   Sunshine is here and present  Covered in bruises Covered in burns Screaming real screams Loudly

Copyright © September 2003 Rachel F. Spinoza

This Poem was Critiqued By: Thomas H. Smihula On Date: 2003-10-07 13:24:48
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.41304
Strong viewpoint showen within this piece Rachel. You show me the results from an unwanted child. Yes there is pain and real screams to continue on and you have shown that within. What I like about this piece it is straight to the point and the words chosen are understood nothing obscure to the reader. You end the piece back with the child and that completes the thought. Well done. Tom

This Poem was Critiqued By: Elaine Marie Phalen On Date: 2003-10-04 14:17:41
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
How bitterly ironic that this "crack baby's" name is "Sunshine" for her whole world will be anything but that. This is a resounding contradiction to the "life-at-any-cost" proponents, who make a lot of noise but sometimes check their compassion at the maternity-ward doors. This is a bleak poem, but it's also an honest depiction of what is happening to far too many babies. As an adoptee, I'd love to believe that adoption is the answer to this situation ... but I know differently, because most unfit or unwilling mothers simply will not give up their infants until they've been so scarred that they've gone past all hope of earthly redemption. Pushed and pulled Unwilling And unwanted Into the world; You jump right into this one, emphasizing the baby's lack of control olver her own fate. The contractions merely mimic what will be done to her throughout her growing-up, as she is forced into inescapable abuse that will destroy her as surely as her own mother is being destroyed (if she hasn't been already). Coming off crack With nary a “pro-lifer” To bundle her in anything But platitudes, It is so easy to plant a pro-life sign on one's lawn, and to write in defence of the unborn, but stay far removed from any necessity to actually do anything for or about their plight once they've actually made an appearance. I know many pro-lifers and am one myself, in many ways, as I certainly can't condone abortion as a form of birth control ... yet I also accept that there are times when it can't be helped. Your poem most convincingly argues its case. The child's screams weave their motif in and out of the lines, drowning the "platitudes" that cannot feed her or keep her warm. The path to "faithlessness" is understandably accessible, for what starving, unloved and miserable child will come on her own to an understanding of God, or any sort of purpose for her pain? Use of "blossoming" (into faithlessness) both augments the "ss" - which in this case is a softly despairing sound - and ironically suggests rapid growth into a barren adulthood. She will soon be beyond Any hope of heaven If heaven demands Any belief at all in goodness [cap. for "In?] How can a neglected child even contemplate the concept of "goodness"? If one seeks to find some sort of "better place", then that assumes a certain optimism which may be beyond her capacity. It sounds like a cynical outlook but it isn't; it's realistic. The next strophe uses its blunt diction and direct imagery to clarify how this child - "a person who breathes" - has come to exist in the first place: - in a violent rape Or the morning after result Of first teen - age tryst When he said he would pull out in time And she believed him Yes, this happens everywhere. The girl who "believed" her impetuous lover is left to bear her burden; the burns and bruises that cover the baby may have arisen from her teen mother, or possibly from the boyfriend-father (although they are not necessarily the same person). In any case, the screams recur, and closing the poem with "loudly" lets the speaker remind us of how very urgent is this little one's need. The tone of the poem is angry, uncompromisingly so; it's done in the voice of someone who has become more and more fed-up with double standards, which call abortion wrong but make no allowance for the living beings who result from this stance. It is not a perfect world, and adoption may not be the answer if nobody ever asks the question (can you help me?). Not an easy or comforting read, nor meant to be. I'm glad I found this one, though! I think it was around fortieth on my list. My Best Wishes, Brenda
This Poem was Critiqued By: Claire H. Currier On Date: 2003-09-15 01:12:31
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.81250
Sunshine.....what a good choice of a name for this child....for somewhere, somehow, sooner then later I pray she does find some sunshine in her life....the picture you paint is dark and frightening......I cannot take in the full impact of such a happening though I know there are many young mothers out there that do drugs while pregnant or prior to knowing they are then just continuing using over and over again......thus the picture does not change for either mother nor child and it is the child who suffers over and over again............the burns and bruises and the intense screaming real screams......I hope this has not happened to someone you know and love poet for the pain there alone is horrible......I am sorry to say I am at a loss of words though you have structured this very well, your words flow allowing the reader to see and feel the emotions packed within each word, line, stanza......the screamsare further heard and continue to echo long after the read is finished. Thank you for posting, be safe and God Bless, Claire
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jennifer j Hill On Date: 2003-09-14 01:05:24
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.00000
Ok, heres my platitude for the day--Any of these babies could be the next Helen of Troy or Cleopatra, unless of course abortion has it's way with them. This poem paints a bleak picture of a heartbreaking problem. As a pediatric nurse I have seen my fair share of adopted crack babies and pregnant teens. I also have a freind who was raped, kept and raised her baby. It's a brave choice to give life to a baby you know will have problems. I have seen enough of these babies to be able to say that when you stand and face trials head on, the rewards are many and each new life brings promise and blessings. I could tell you stories that would curl your hair about babies that were thrown into the creek unwanted while their mothers were suffering from post partum depression. I could go on and on, but I won't. I think your poem is needlessly judgmental. If you realy want to make a point, then take out the part about prolifers and change the name to something more fitting.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Karen Ragan On Date: 2003-09-13 14:06:13
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Hi Rachel, It's been a very long time since I commented on any of your work, but when I stop by TPL I look for your work. I'll be honest...I do find your work a bit pessimistic--but totally captivating. This is in no way a slam, because I admire your work--I just see so much pain rippling through the lines. Your style is unique and you force the reader to look at stark realities in life. So, this piece jumped out and wrapped itself around my heart as I saw more than a statistic--a tiny life caught in a web, echoing the hopeless despair of the mother and probably the father too. Coming off crack With nary a “pro-lifer” To bundle her in anything But platitudes, Cold and hungry, Sunshine screams Loudly Day and night Unwilling and unwanted...not asking for the vicious addiction that tears through her body...this tiny life screams for her place, her deserved love...but may never be heard by anyone who can rescue her. I am one of those pro-lifers, but it is true--I have little to offer but platitudes! Still I believe every life should have a chance to "be." Some of them are rescued and loved, turning out to be distinctive and compassionate leaders. Who can see the future or has the right to say which one should live and which one should not?Still, the 'rescued ones' are in the minority and most are lost in the mire of unwanted teenage pregnancies. 'Sunshine screams'...Loudly... Day and night...Through my tears, I see this scene of forced motherhood and hopelessness! The word 'sunshine' speaks to my heart as a mother, because each of my babies brought such joy into my life--such sunshine--yet this 'Sunshine' comes from darkness and despair and screams in its wretching pain of withdrawal. This unrepentant sinner Is already blossoming into Faithlessness She will soon be beyond Any hope of heaven If heaven demands Any belief at all in goodness So many of these children grow up in this mire of faithlessness and abuse, never to escape the quicksand...only to spawn other tiny lives...caught in the same mud. This infants only sin is being born of parents that are caught in their own sin--their own despair! She is a person who breathes Not a promise of one Not two cells joined Willy-nilly - in a violent rape Or the morning after result Of first teen - age tryst When he said he would pull out in time And she believed him These are heart-wrenching facts, but there are those that escape--that are rescued. I know one such woman. A hopeless heroine addict, she almost died in a crack house. Someone reached out in compassion, and she took hold of the hand. Today she is a minister who has held me spellbound many times with her wonderful ability to weave a story. She takes a Biblical story and brings it to life like no one else I know. She has climbed out with the help of God and others who cared...and now she is the one reaching to pull someone else out of the quicksand. She is not a statistic to me, she is a friend. Who but God has the right to decide who shall live and who shall not! Each life has a value and is precious. Sunshine is here and present Covered in bruises Covered in burns Screaming real screams Loudly I would rather focus on the one saved than to see the thousands of lost, but you have spoken such sad truth throughout this piece. There will be no time of innocence for this child because it was stolen by abuse. Rachel, this piece makes me want to reach out more and listen for the screams--the real screams of these children! They deserve to be loved. Turning to the poetic usual it is perfect. You mix soft 's' sounds with the harshness of 'c' in such words as crack, cold, covered, and especially 'screams' which mixes the sounds in such harsh reality. In this piece the 's' sounds are not soft and are fittingly endings...used in words like platitudes, screams, burns, bruises, faithlessness. I see a sad 'ending' rather than a joyful 'beginning' to this soft infants life. Every word used paints a poignant picture for the reader...piercing this readers heart! Your use of the name 'Sunshine' evokes soft, beautiful images of life and light, which characterizes the birth of a baby--such a joyous occasion in my life. It furthers the deception and despair throughout the piece...rape, or he said he would pull out in time And she believed him. This life began in deception and violence rather than love, but she deserves to live and be loved! The question is, will anyone hear her in time?
This Poem was Critiqued By: Andrea M. Taylor On Date: 2003-09-12 11:09:20
Critiquer Rating During Critique: Unknown
Rachel, Your words are very succinct and I believe, meant to titillate. To that end, I enjoyed it. However, it baits the question , by means of the title, that maybe there is only a tangible choice to be made. This is my impression and not necessarily your intent. Subsequently, it confirms or reaffirms the reader’s beliefs. This is the strength of your versus and your mental imagery. If “Sunshine screams” from the womb, “Mama please save me from the light” and after birth, “Please save me from the dark”. Maybe, just maybe, if we cherished and protected all life, we could save ourselves from ourselves. Good reading. Thank you. Andrea
This Poem was Critiqued By: Galen never received one at bir Arrowhead On Date: 2003-09-11 12:20:11
Critiquer Rating During Critique: Unknown
Hi Rachel, Read both yours and hers. I like the way your poem sticks to imagery of the various situations that lead to the necessity of this procedure, and you have not given way to the ranting and railing in Jennifer's poems, though I don't quite understand the last stanza. Who is covered with bruises? Might refer back to the rape and the horror of carrying a child that resulted from such. Not the sort of thing that can lead to a good life, especially when scientists now suspect the hereditary basis of violence. The child could well be like its father and then even more heartbreak for the girl later in life. Good write and good read.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Terrye Godown On Date: 2003-09-10 22:30:33
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.00000
Wow. All these right to life poems today. This one, the other side of the coin.. a jolting revelation of an abortion gone awry, or so it seems in the concluding stanza of this piece. Thank God, this happens in only a minute percentage of cases, as does the actuality of pregnancy resulting from rape. Less than 2% I read somewhere. A perplexing dilema of twisted realities and force fed morals... yet it speaks... shouts.. as loudly as sunshine screaming. A cold and forboding shadow of controversy Rachel. Between the lines the truth is somehow uncovered. The fact that sins derive from both things we have done and things we leave undone. No comments or suggestions. Some poems just unfold and adhere in the mind, defying any changes. Bold and perceptive. Cheerz, t
This Poem was Critiqued By: Mark Morales On Date: 2003-09-10 20:30:07
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Wait a minute. I’m supposed to be the troublemaker around here. Who the hell do you think you are? This poem’s not preceded by a public announcement or memory verse of any sorts, preferably Biblical. How am I to think objectively without first being prompted by religion? Jeez. Technically, your poem is perfect as usual. I don’t care much for the title; it cheapens the effect of a very meaningful topic. Besides, I feel fairly certain the religious right [pardon the oxymoron] has copyrighted the term by now. Theme-wise: I think we may agree on some things; differ on others. Abortion is one of the few issues in which anyone can actually accuse me of straddling the fence. I have agreed to disagree and disagreed to agree, having done so in refusal of allowing religious beliefs to obfuscate my better judgment. My better judgment says a woman should be allowed to do what ever she wants to do with her body, as the case should be for anyone, regardless of sex. My better judgment also says adults should be responsible for their actions. And for this reason, I do not support abortion as a means of birth control. I do, however, support it in cases such as the ones mentioned in your poem. You have chosen a touchy subject, and for this you will be stoned at TPL. Hell, you may even be exorcised. But not by me, because when you’re right, you’re right. Hold on. The exorcism thingy may be fun. Yeah. Count me in. The other Mark.
This Poem was Critiqued By: marilyn terwilleger On Date: 2003-09-10 17:10:24
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.80000
Hi Rachel, WOW this is a powerful poem..very well crafted. You tell this story, of the horrible plight of this girl, and do it with deep emotion in every line. This reader cannot help but feel instantly sorry for her and wish somehow this will turn out fine...but knowing that it will not and can not. Born with an addiction and virtually no one to help her she will just melt into oblivion as do the hundereds of other children who come into this world and already have three strikes against them. The words you have used to paint this sad picture are so compelling to the possible way to not finish this piece. Words like... ..."pushed, pulled, unwilling, unwanted...cold hungry, sunshine screams, faithlessness, violent rape, covered in brusis and burns"...strong words that make an impact on each stanza. Wonderful poem about a dire and horrible that goes on day after day. Blessings..Marilyn
This Poem was Critiqued By: Mark Steven Scheffer On Date: 2003-09-10 11:54:09
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Rachel, So . . . let's kill “her” before that happens. Great policy, wonderful theology. The thing you fail to realize: the Lord may claim her, as He has claimed the most abject and worthless (in the eyes of man) of his creatures. And then the external circumstances of her birth are rendered meaningless. She may very well be one of the chosen, one for whom the great price was paid, and, unfortunately, one for whom vengeance now must be wreaked when the Day of the Lord comes. And a mere mortal, one of the "unrepentant" as you say, decides to kill her. For “her” benefit. To "spare" her and eliminate the intervening (and apparently unnecessary) step of an earthly journey on her path to the Lord. Give me a break. Too bad Jewish mothers in Germany before the Holocaust didn’t have your prescience. Or African mothers who were about to be bundled off on a slave ship. How much suffering could have been spared! How much unnecessary, murderous detail! I could have simply said, “I’m done defending you.” But that would be untrue. You may be right about something again someday. Thank you for submitting this poem, and giving us some focus on an important issue. Mark
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