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Summer of my Miscarriage

Last summer was a scorcher;
I spent the days upstairs alone,
evenings high on marijuana
and beer, if I could get it.
One night I downed some pills
that took my baby's life
but I lived on –
Child, I regret it.
Is the whole world going crazy?
Has humanity turned itself upside down?
Across the street from the Police Station,
there's an abortion clinic in my town!
You give them the urine vial,
pay with cash or government check.
For all your phony reasons
and all your misconceptions,
another tiny sailor is shipwrecked.
The Eagles are protected in the wild,
the Whooping Crane is safe from hunters' skill.
No legislation for the unborn child,
no punishment for mothers out to kill.
When I see a loving mother,
snuggling her infant close,
(I'm weeping, Jesus, as I tell You this),
I'd live that scorching summer night
a million lifetimes over
to give my unborn baby -

1 Jul 05

Rated 9.2 (8.2) by 11 users.
Active (11): 3, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10
Inactive (12): 1, 6, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10

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Isabelle, this actually brought me to tears. Poignant and beautifully written; and not at all preachy (on a subject where that's not easy to do!) Just when I've given up on this site, something like this poem always reels me back in. You will hold that baby someday, I'm sure of it.
 — unknown

Thank you, Catbox.  I'm counting on that, plus the baby my youngest lost last October.  She's still grieving.  
 — Isabelle5

you just did.

 — noodleman

I'm so sorry for you losses. Do you find that giving the grief voice through writing about it has helped? Has your daughter tried it?
 — unknown

hi catbox! :D
 — noodleman

Hiya, noodles! missed you!
I'm having a terrible case of writer's block...haven't been able to write a thing in weeks which is why I haven't been aroung much.
 — unknown

My daughter isn't a poet, she's an artist more.  She held her firstborn a lot and called me every day for weeks, prayer, her sister, friends, husband and God got her through.  Thanks so much for asking about her.
 — Isabelle5

You're welcome, Isabelle. I hope things get easier for her.
 — unknown

i have had writers block too. the only thig i have been able to write is

on birds and the fragile nature of man

try hitting yourself in the head with a hammer. that helps a lot.
 — noodleman

Put on headphones, ride a bike and listen for bits of words that catch your attention. That sometimes helps me.  Other times, I consider writers block a time when roots are growing.  The buds will come in time if you can stand to wait.
 — Isabelle5

Isabelle, wow, this is a really intense subject. It is beautifully written and the rhyming seem quite wonderful. The first four lines, really did it for me and the last stanza is so wonderful and sad. It's a wonder that you were able to go through with this, then write about it.
 — unknown

I don't like this one, sorry.  The prolife rhetoric is bleeding from my screen, not impressed by this one at all.

Sounds to me like you've got no real idea what you are talking about.
The other abortion poem was much better.
 — JessieVideo

It happened in 1984 so it's clear but distant enough for speculative writing.
 — Isabelle5

You galavant around this site, forcing commas and periods on unsuspecting aspiring poets, but one person doesn't like ONE of your poems, and you get nasty.

Dish it out, learn to take it.

Thanks for reading my poems.
 — JessieVideo

Who got nasty?  Sorry, I was responding to Gabriella.  As for gallavanting about puntucation, Damned straight!  That's what this site is for. CRITICAL, not mean and nasty, pointing out how to improve the poetry, not someone's personality.  

Get a grip, Poet.
 — Isabelle5

me too, Isabelle.
 — sam

Ooooooh, so that wasn't you, posting as "unknown" on two of my poems, moment after I post an honest reaction to your poem.

It's Poetry CRITICAL after all.  Are we not allowed to say if we don't like it.  Maybe I'll just join the "unknowns" and write useless comments on all the poems I read.

You've written better poems than this.  You can't win them all my dear.
 — JessieVideo

scratch  *wink*

Isabelle, so as not to be confused, my comment was in relation to l25-30.
 — sam

Sorry, I haven't posted as Unknown on yours.  I went to your poems to see what you're talking about and those are not my comments.  
 — Isabelle5

Sam, I have no idea what you're referring to.  And Jessievideo, do you realize how many poets are on this site?  Don't assume it was me.  If I get a comment critiquing my work, I NEVER NEVER go to that poets poems and rip on them.  I have much more integrity than that.  Plus more confidence in my work.
 — Isabelle5

my 'me too' comment

 — unknown

Yes, I get it, Sammy!  Thank you.  
 — Isabelle5

Wel I don't really believe you, but if you are telling the truth, then I'm sorry.

 — unknown

You had me at Hello (or in this case "Last") As always, Is 5---Grand work. (I usually always cringe at this subject but I was cringeless today. That's a good feeling)
 — BlueRock

This is one hell of a heart felt poem on a difficult subject, though not every one will see it your way
 — larrylark

this is really amazing. beautiful. sad. well written.
 — DiVeRiGhTiN

Thank you so much for all the comments, even those that didn't like this.  I appreciate them all.
 — Isabelle5

This brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful words from such a painful experience. Sorry for your loss.
 — ky_diva

Isabelle, the ending grabbed me. Not sure about lines 13-21, as they seem like an editorial, but the subject, and the ending had be in tears also. I lost a few babies, one was an abortion after a violent rape in 83. I still grieve that decision. :)

 — Quichemarie

I love l8 for some reason, and referring to unborn babies as tiny sailors, and the ending.   The third stanza rhyming I founda little forced though. And as to why eagle eggs are protected while its ok to get an abortion (while I don't believe in abortion, don't take this wrong) there are plenty of humans and many other anial species are dying out.
 — Cloudless

Eagles are precious because there are so few.  Human babies are a dime a dozen, apparently, not unique individuals who most likely have something to contribute to the world, if only a painting, a smile, a vote.
 — Isabelle5

i love this poems cause my friend have a miscarriage during the summer too...and i feel bad for her cause she wanted that baby but her boy friend's not gonna claim it so she got rid of it...but yea i love this poem alot...
 — unknown

i think that for those girls who had a miscarriage should read this poem cause after they read this poem they will want to have their baby and should never got rid of it...cause child is people's life...so girls should never ever get a miscarriage...and if they do then their just gonna regret it...

mai lee
 — unknown

did it ever occur to you that your baby won the world record for committing suicide at the earliest stage of development.
 — unknown

murdered accidentally by it's mother, not suicide.  Suicide is a conscious choice to end your own life.  You end anyone else, it's murder or manslaughter.  Right?
 — unknown

Oh my god this is beautiful. The admission of guilt and realizartion and the way its explained really moved me and i dont get moved.

Well i did and this is my first poem tetto 10.

Email me isabelle.
 — Caducus

i am very sorry for the speaker's loss

god bless this poem

 — unknown

im so sorry
 — unknown

Oh my God, this is beautiful yet so tragic. How true your words are and how well you put it.
 — flaminhot

simply wondering:  did this happen to you personally? & are you prolife or were you simply bitter after your miscarriage?
 — unknown

It happened.  I am fervently Pro-life, with deep empathy for those who have to make the choices I never had to make and I do NOT mean that I hate pro-choice proponents.  
 — Isabelle5

"a miscarriage of justice"
 — unknown

I have avoided critiquing this poem for a while now, Isabelle, mostly because my beliefs on this subject differ. But I am fond of you, and I respect you, and I thought it was about time I gave it a shot.

Objectively, the poem is wonderful. Every word is in its place, and I liked how the first and second stanzas describe tangible moments, and then you go more abstract with your questions and observations in the 3rd - 5th stanzas. It is a very moving poem, and I commend you for so gracefully handling such a volitale topic.

I'm not even going to try to relate my subjective feelings on this. If you are ever interested in a mature calm discussion on this subject, you are welcome to email me.

Very nice poem, Isabelle. (8)
 — Maela

it is an okay poem. sure the sentiment is harrowing but that should not detract from the okayness of da poem.

 — unknown

Maela, I've talked the topic to death over the years.  My mother was invited to abort me and my two younger brothers, for medical reasons.  Here I am, here my wonderful brothers are, here are my 3 children, their children, my brother's children and my mother is still alive.

I can't add anything more to it than to say I was not a glob of cells, I was a human baby growing toward maturity.  I do not fault those who abort their children.  It's the law and they can avail themselves of it.  I am no one's judge, only my own.  
 — Isabelle5

Isabelle, I commend you for your above comment.  I have such respect for the way you handle discussing this topic.  Although my views differ from your own (perhaps its my age...and the fact I have the dreaded "premarital sex"), I can really appreciate where you are coming from.
A damn great poem.  8.
 — WordsAndMe

The first stanza worries me a bit here's why:

Last summer was a scorcher;
I spent the days upstairs alone,
evenings; high on marijuana
and beer, if I could get it.

I don't know why I keep seeing this everywhere... but that's the correct way to punctuate that clause.  Also "If I could get it" trips me up a bit, because you've named two substances and then used a singular pronoun.  

Good job with the rest of the piece.  It's definitely an excellent poem.
 — Resonanz

I read this poem once, 6 months ago or more, and it haunted me. I just found it again in the list of all poems, and I'm making sure I won't lose it again.

I do think that cutting stanza 5 out would make it stronger. It feels a shade preachy, and the rest of the poem is so personal that stanza 5 weakens it, in my opinion. And from reading your comments, especially "I am no one's judge, only my own," I know that "preachy" is the last thing I should be getting from this poem.
 — leukothea

Thank you for all the comments.  The first stanza was written to be like broken thoughts and the beer line almost as an afterthought.  beer, if I could get it.  

Last summer was a scorcher.
I spent the days upstairs alone,
evenings high on marijuana
(and beer, if I could get it).

It's hard to punctuate it exactly was I'd like it read.  The beer line makes sense if you realize I was living with someone who always had pot around, even seeds to grow it, but I had to hunt for enough to change to go buy a quart of beer since I had no job, he had a very bad job and the last week I lived there, I had cold tea to drink, no food, no lights, nothing.  It was like a nightmare and every day, I'd wake up, go to the window and realize the "dream" was real.

The rest of the stanzas, the "preachy" ones, have more to do with the confusion many of us have with the issue of abortion.  We have marches to save owls, to save dolphins, we spend hours rescuing damaged wildlife...and we toss the unborn into the bins like trash.  It is a two-edged sword kind of thing, like many things in life.  You can see the point, you can understand why a person would want to maybe do it but once you've held your own precious new-borns, it's hard to really, truly accept that it's okay to kill a human unborn but we damn well better save the whales!  It's got so many sides and although I would, truly, love to have the entire world realize each life is precious, it's not going to happen.  

But I do wish babies had a least injections of anesthetic before abortions, that would at least make it seem humane.  Or gruesome.

You can see my distress in all this but that wasn't the point of the poem, just my sorrow about hurting someone innocent through my own depression and selfishness.

Okay, it's Tuesday and a gorgeous day!  
 — Isabelle5

Very sad.
 — unknown

Hi Isabelle, I was going to email you, but you have it hidden. I was surprised by your response to my crit. Did I offend you or come off upset? Your comment seems so cool compared to how you normally correspond that I can't help but be taken aback. I apologize if my invitation to talk about this subject was presumptuous. It was a sincere offer. I genuinely like to discuss intense subjects with people whose views differ from mine because I like to keep an open mind, and I can't do that if I don't consider other people's views. I completely understand if you aren't interested. I'm sorry.
 — Maela

Maela, check your e-mail!
 — Isabelle5

Isabelle5, I thought about this poem as I was surfacing from sleep this morning.

I think the thing that became clearer for me this morning was the issue of morality vs. legality. The poem wrestles with the morality of the speaker's negligence in causing a miscarriage, but it then conflates the morality with issues of legality. The speaker of this poem was already breaking the law in various ways. If abortion had been illegal, would that have made a difference?

Smoking pot is always illegal in the U.S. (I believe that Oregon allows it for strictly defined medical reasons, but I think that's about to be repealed...) Depending on the pills, those pills may have been illegal to ingest as well. Depending on the speaker's age, drinking beer may have been illegal for her at the time. And sex outside of marriage is illegal almost everywhere in the U.S. (because no politician wants to take the heat for repealing those old fornication laws -- but those laws are also never prosecuted).

If abortion had been illegal at the time, would that fact have changed the actions which led to the speaker's miscarriage -- a miscarriage caused through an unhealthy lifestyle but not through conscious choice?

We women are the gatekeepers to life, and it's our responsibility to think and feel and love profoundly, and to use our deepest wisdom to make the best decisions about to how to use our vast power to create and destroy.

That's why I love this poem so much -- it looks unflinchingly at an episode in the speaker's past that many people, including me, would be happy to gloss over and try to forget, if it had happened to us. But you look at it bravely and with heart. Thank you.
 — leukothea

Leukothea, thank you for your heartfelt observations.  Yes, pot is illegal, the drugs were not (although I'd tell you all that a huge bottle of Comtrex mixed with a quart of beer will not help your life in any way so don't try it!  I was lucky and someone  called an ambulance for me.)  There are so many issues we have to deal with, born of our choices.

I would never abort, legal or not.  I have 3 healthy babies and I know what's growing in there.  And since I had names for my children from the time I was 16, I knew WHO was growing in there.  But that's just me.  As I said, I would always encourage a female to give birth but that is not my decision, ultimately, and I am not in her shoes.

 — Isabelle5

 — CrunchyWeta

I am really, touch by this. Thank you for helping  me realise, how special and sweet  babies are.
 — unknown

Oh, they are precious!  My youngest daughter is growing a little girl right now.  Amazing when you really consider that fact - a tiny human budding right inside another one.  All alone in the dark, growing herself a body to house her spirit.  Amazing.
 — Isabelle5

Ouch, this hit me as a random and I'm surprised that it can still make me feel anything.
 — Isabelle5

i am sorry for your loss. the content is regrettable...and the art worked magnificently.

it is painful to create from this sort of loss. i will post mine. when writers go deep, it can be an abyss.

thank you
 — ilenelush

I am sorry for your loss. My mother had four miscarriages, so I sympathize completely.  @-->---

The only criticism I have for this piece is that line 24 should be the first line of that stanza. It gets lost sitting in the middle, and it's such a powerful statement. I also think it would be better served if not in parenthesis.

It's so hard writing a good poem about something this heavy, and you pulled it off beautifully.
 — BrideInBlack

This is heart breaking. I felt so mmany emotions while reading this. Makes me realise how lucky I am to have my children. I feel for the girl in the poem, regret is a horrible feeling. Written well and makes its point effectively. L4 is so simple yet so strong.
 — angrychick

very deep, very emotional. you did a beautiful job of making your readers feel as you do.
 — lanezfairy

Absolutely heartwrenching and brilliantly written.  "10."
 — starr

 — listen

exquisite, honest, lonely. you are lucky to have such a beautiful outlet for your pain
 — sunshinesgf

such beautiful words
 — skxe

your baby is burning in hell.

how could you?

how could you?
 — bologna

You are sick bologna, no baby goes to hell, maybe you should have though hey?
 — unknown

Bologna, babies do not go to Hell and no one burns there except through their own judgment of their actions in this life.

You might want to think hard about that, my friend.  
 — Isabelle5

my fire is a renewable resource.

the gates of hell will smile and creak.

we live in the sun here.
 — bologna

you are right. babies don't go to hell. they are stuck in limbo.

revisionist history is a convenient ideology.
 — bologna

How do you know they are stuck in limbo. Take your biblical rantings and apply them to yourself
 — unknown

There is no Limbo, there is no Purgatory...there is no bologna.  
 — Isabelle5

are you saying you want me aborted?

isabelle. how could you!
 — bologna

don't know what to add. too busy crying. hope you find peace.
 — Trish77

Bologna, I don't want anyone aborted, certainly not you!
 — Isabelle5

Isabelle, I really like this poem. The one thing I'd change is putting the last three words (just one kiss) in italics, or something. the spacing seems sort of odd without a little extra oomph.
 — Erowen

Ah, sadly, I do not ever remember how to do that on this site.  It works fine on Word!  Thanks for the kind comments, everyone.  Believe me, this was long ago and far away.  
 — Isabelle5

|17 is definitely my favorite, but I'm confused about one thing. The title speaks of a miscarriage, but in the poem you refer to downing pills that would abort...it seems contradictory to me...though I may be missing something.

|13; consider saying "hand them the urine vial" to synchronize it with |14 stylistically.
 — Virgil

Virgil, I hate to sound so pathec but I was trying to kill myself, I didn't know I had a baby in there at the time.  Fate slapped me good and taught me to stop being so selfish.
 — Isabelle5

Apparently, my spelling is also "pathec!"  PATHETIQUE.
 — Isabelle5

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