If I could say it…

by Carol M. Duffy

I can’t explain or tell you why –
It’s enough to make me cry.
That’s something I’ll just never do,
My learning is so different from you.

Futures bright for all of those…
Looking back – things I never chose.
Nobody listens to the way I say,
Confusion reigns more every day.
Nothing changes or stays the same;
Still I am the one to blame.

Wake up people can’t you see?
Children rarely get born free.
Change your focus and tune your ears,
We haven’t got a thousand years.
Windows small and so are we,
Open your eyes and please see me.

To love and live and feel soft pain.
To relish life’s exciting game.
To learn to love and bear to lose,
It’s what I cannot dare to choose.

But maybe if you wait with me,
Look through my eyes and then you’ll see.
You won’t ask me why again,
Instead we’ll play and make a den.
There we’ll find that lost safe place,
My eyes will see a different face.

I might then feel, I might then dare,
My soul may just begin to bear,
A terrible story might get told
And from it brighter futures fold.

It’s only play, sure what can it do?
It’s power, more than me or you.
Put down your pen and take off your shoes,
Just follow me, I have the clues.
We’ll discover this together,
Every storm we can weather.

When it’s over I may forget,
The weight of what you dared to let.
But you can take it, to let me be.
Give me that chance to live life free.

This poem was written one sleepless night as many of my clients raced through my brain ‒ one more than the rest. My wish for her and all the other traumatised children I see is that we listen with our hearts to what they would say – possibly – if they could say it. Just because we can’t see it and hear it in a way that we know it, doesn’t mean it’s not real.

Carol M. Duffy is a Play Therapist and Psychotherapist working in the Child and Family Agency in the west of Ireland. She has a special interest in childhood trauma and attachment.