MIDWEEK POETRY. Chains of Guilt.


Guilt shackles me to the


with chains fashioned by


Far stronger

than any shackle born

of a forge.

Guilt tortures me,


my memories

with glowing irons.

Etching the deed,

the sin,

deep into

the essence of my soul.

No one else can see it.

I can.

I have never forgiven


No matter how I


myself into


the excuses

I’ve made,

the brand remains.


She comes to me in my sleep

and stands at the outer

edges of my dreams.

A shadow amongst shadows.

A spectre lost in the


Whispering always whispering.


Reaching out I try to grasp her,

so I can tell her

but what can I say?

Then she vanishes.


Like a penitent

wishing for absolution,

swathed in sackcloth

weaved from the


of my conscience,

I seek her.

Apparitions of the

lost hinder my


each begging for release

from the chains

of their guilt and shame.

I journey on.

The only trace

she leaves behind

is the heady aroma of

Heather and

the fragrance of

golden Wattle blooms

lingering in the








The silence mocks me.

I pause for a moment.

The wind howling across the

sand dunes disperses the

squalling cries of the gulls,

as they guard her final

resting place.


I asked God why.

The silence has always hung between us.

My only answer the vision of the

final moments of

her life.







other than


And I could do


Except watch life

fade away




Eyes bluer than Cornflowers.





I was afraid.

I could have saved her


Not then.

Then I had no voice.

I have one now

and I can only say,


Laurie Smith © 2013


As a small boy I believed that if you prayed you would receive answers and that all would be well. I didn’t receive any and it wasn’t well. I struggled with the notion of a caring creator of all, and like so many innocents who have cried out in the darkness of their pain and passing, receiving no help or comfort, nor the cessation of their torment I stopped believing. I remember looking at my Baptismal certificate, it had a picture of Christ with little children around him. All smiling and happy, arms outstretched waiting to receive a boon of love and protection. I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t there for me. What did I do that was so wrong that I couldn’t be part of that happy little group of loved children. It appeared that you had to suffer and die to receive it. Well I had the suffering down pat and the dying part? That was offered up as a way of keeping me quiet. As an adult I know without doubt that a child had no way of influencing the outcome of this girl’s death. The horror of what happened was impressed on my very soul. So it haunts me by mixing up the adult’s notion of what could be done now with the child’s inability to do anything then. Therein lies the conflict.


27 thoughts on “MIDWEEK POETRY. Chains of Guilt.

  1. Wordifull Melanie


    I’m sitting here with tears flowing trying to think of the right words and honestly the comments above said much of what I wanted to…so I’ll simply say
    I’m so happy that you continued to tell her story (i recall vividly another post I read about this horror) AND I’m happy you are finally learning to forgive yourself.

    Sending you huge hugs,


    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Thank you Melanie, yes there are some beautiful comments. the other post I thought may have said it all but it didn’t. Now I can let her rest, and yes forgive myself. thank you for coming by and sharing how you feel.
      Hugs always accepted.


  2. Pingback: Bianca’s Weekly Wonder List 23.08.13 | B.G. Bowers

  3. bgbowers

    This has been haunting and tormenting you for a lifetime, Laurie. I’m happy for you, and for her, that you are writing about what happened and giving her (the defenceless child) a voice. It’s more than anyone else has done and I’ve no doubt she lovingly watches over you.
    I’m crying now. You are fast becoming one of my favourite writers. xoxo


    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Torment indeed Bianca. I hope she has moved on, for both our sakes. Sometimes I think that’s all the dead want is a voice, to be acknowledged, especially when their end is tragic. Since writing chains I’ve felt lighter of spirit, as if an septic boil has been lanced. Now we can both heal.
      I’m honoured that you cried over my poem, we want our words to touch others. I’m also blushing a little now 🙂 Thank you so much.
      Laurie. xxo


  4. Theresa

    Your words have a terrible beauty. Each of us has a right to question, but I don’t know that our human minds have the capacity to understand whatever the answers may be. We are all part of each other, one in our sufferings and our joys. Be well; it’s only in the broken places that we look to find the light.


    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Thank you so much Theresa, it seemed to be the only way to bring something beautiful out of a horrible situation. yes light definitely shines through the cracks in our life, the sad thing is we often miss them completely.


  5. Eli@coachdaddy

    I can’t imagine what this is like for you from the inside, but you’ve expressed it as well as anyone could to illustrate it. The final portion felt like a bit of peace, Laurie. Do you have any now, even the slightest bit?


    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Thanks Eli, it’s taken a few days and I feel somewhat lighter of spirit. Yes there is a feeling of peace, brought on by forgiveness of self. It’s been like a large carbuncle festering for years, the need to say something to the world to have it know that this girl lived and died. Now it’s been lanced and the pressure has eased. We never forget but we can forgive and therein lies the method of releasing these events from our minds. Thank you again for being so kind and caring enough to ask me, your a real Mate Eli.


  6. Raani York

    This is a very strong and emotional poem, Laurie… and somehow it really does make me sad. But I think that’s why it’s so powerful! You’re an amazing poet!


    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Thank you Raani, sad it is indeed. As I write this I sense her spirit beside me and in my minds eye I see her happy and alive. Huge feelings of love and forgiveness flow over me, it’s wonderful, perhaps we are free from each other now. Have to go I’m crying.


    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Thanks Susan, torment indeed. I mentioned in another reply I was sick all day after posting, then I broke out in hives. So I hope the emotions are finally going away from me.


  7. patgarcia

    My Dear Brother,

    The pain is enormous, because there are no explanations. I can’t explain why some children are born into poverty, like I was, or why some children are sexually abused, or why I as a child witness things that I shouldn’t have seen. I can’t even explain why I was born black, back then in a racist part of the United States, (the Deep South) where I would have to learn to fight my way through a system that had already damned me because of the color of my skin as being unintelligent. I can go on and on with the things that I cannot explain. However, that is not my purpose here.

    What I am trying to say is that God is not responsible for the way we treat each other. We have shut him out; Made an image of Him that fits our picture of who and what God is. We have forgotten the verse, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We don’t even think about loving mankind, because we are out there thinking about self.

    That you as a child had to experience such torture to another person is horrible, but I want you to forgive yourself. Your writing your books is a living testimony to this unknown child. Your spreading the message is retribution for all that she experienced. Of course, it hurts you, and it will keep tearing you a part as long as you are being used to get the message across to the small world that you are destined to reach out to.

    This may sound strange, but I want you to be thankful for the pain; be thankful that you aren’t able to forget, because if you could forget, you would not be able to tell her story. You would not be able to write as dynamically and convincing as you write and your books, your poetry, would not touch the hearts of people.

    Please forgive me if I have stepped out of line and said more than I should, but this was on my heart.

    I love you.


    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      My Dear Sister,
      I’ve read this out to Lorelle and she said thank you because I needed to hear what you had to say. I am thankful for who I am, I could have been that girl, or the other one. I could have been born into many situations some better some far worse. I can’t begin to understand how it would have been for you in the South, or anyone for that matter judged by the colour of their skin and labelled accordingly. There are countless children even now experiencing things nobody should have to go through. Yet people turn their heads away from them and their plight.
      I know you would understand how I as a small child who had been told all about a loving God would feel shattered when he witnessed such horror first hand. When his prayers up to then still hadn’t been answered, feeling let down every day when he woke up still in the same home. The same things still happening with no end in sight. People may think this next thing funny. By the time I was seven I had become convinced that I was adopted and these people (parents) had stolen me from my real parents, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. True, for days I sat on the front steps through the summer holidays waiting for the big black limousine to pull up and I would be whisked away to happiness and bliss. It never happened and I resigned myself to the bleakness that was my life.
      Back to God, from a child’s perspective when the one thing he was told would help him, prayer, does nothing then after a while whatever faith was there is soon lost. An adult believer can rationalise an absence of any reply or help. Can make it into a positive by thinking it’s a test of faith or God’s way. Not so this little boy forced into vile acts.
      My writing is my ONLY way now, my way of highlighting the fact that ordinary people are drawn into terrible situations. That outwardly nice people can be the biggest monsters and that little children can carry terrible secrets in their hearts. Secrets that either destroy them or make them tougher in all ways. Outwardly I present myself as a clown or an angry unapproachable type, depending on my mood. Never the hurting little boy who is trying to forgive himself for his inaction and the brutal actions of others. This as you say is my only way, by poetry or my novels. You are certainly speaking your truth Patti and I admire you for that. I have had a problem with religion for many years but you carry yourself as a Christian woman, firm in your beliefs and living what you believe. Without ramming it down people’s throats. You live as an example of someone who loves humanity. There is nothing to forgive when someone has spoken their truth, especially when it comes from their heart. You have always been a friend on my writing journey and I think I love you as that friend and the sister I no longer have.


      1. patgarcia

        My Dear Brother,
        Thank you. Your words touched me deeply. To be honest, I sat here and enjoyed them for a while, letting them soak in.
        I am so thankful to be a part of you and Lorelle’s life.
        It is so good to know the both of you and when I get to Australia, I am going to look up the both of you.


  8. merlinfraser

    Laurie, what can I say, life’s experiences make you the brilliant writer you are the feeling and raw emotion can only come from within.
    Very few people understand me when I rant on about organised religion and the lies they tell to get and keep a following. I have memories of living in an age where being forced into Sunday school was more to prevent embarrassment of your parents in a church dominated community. However, I can well understand how discovering that people you are told you must trust have no genuine answers and can only spout centuries old platitudes to a child’s questions.


    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Merlin, thank you so much. I’m quite touched by your compliments. I’ve actually been sick all day since publishing the post, it’s like something has been dug out of my being.
      I can well understand your views on religion, being forced to do or believe something you aren’t sure of can only turn you against it. Yes there certainly was a lot of peer pressure back in the day. The few times I went I noticed it was more about who was wearing the same outfit three Sundays in a row than much else. I know people gain comfort from religion and that’s okay for them. I asked too many questions for a child and didn’t receive the answers I needed. Life goes on. Thanks so much for dropping by Mate.


  9. Owls and Orchids

    It’s always the ones we were never in a position to help that haunt us more than any other. Its beautiful, poignant and still deeply haunting.
    PS. All answers lie within…. A lesson I had to learn the hard way. Yeah, blasphemous I know.
    Ciao friend.


    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Thanks Susan, I couldn’t help her when I was 9, I couldn’t help her when I took it to the police a few years ago. At least now a few people know about her.



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