by S M Chen

by S M Chen
Submitted August 13, 2014
“Whosoever shall offend one of these little ones…
it is better for him that a millstone were hanged
about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.”
 – Mark 9:42

Yesterday I read
of a clever man
knew what to do
when his child of four
spanked for something
bad she’d done
would not cry.
He held her down
and beat her
but she would not cry
so he beat her more
but still she wouldn’t cry.
So he beat her
till he was tired.
When he stopped
to rest, she said,
“I’m sorry, Daddy”
then breathed her last
without a tear.
Today I read
of a clever woman
left two kids in the back
of a car, windows shut
to keep them safe
as she shopped.
Smart lady, she
knew how to save
a sitter’s cost.
Some time later
– who knows how
long – someone
found the kids still
in the car, only
very very still.
Tomorrow I’ll read
of a childcare center
where clever men
and clever women
by treats and threats
abuse the children
time and again
and what they inflict
lingers and festers
and one in their care
becomes yesterday’s dad.
And today’s mother
may be another.
And when I read
wrath and sorrow
blur the print
but, like yesterday’s child,
I do not weep.
Too much reading,
like a little learning,
can be a dangerous thing.
 Important note about the photo: You may have seen this photo with different tragic stories. These are not true. Bahareh Bisheh, a photographer whose work you can see at, was just being creative. Bisheh gives permission to use the photos with credit. We felt that the creativity was beautiful, and would suit this poem admirably. Thank you, Bahareh Bisheh!