Boy is sent to his room
without dinner or explanation
“You should know why”
(the voice of passive aggression)

Boy is hurt
but has not outlet
for that emotion
(the voice of anger is also wrong)

So he dampens the flame
says he feels nothing
because that’s better than pain
(the voice of thought over emotion)

The boy is blue
the world a sadder place
though no one notices
(the voice of depression grows stronger)

He’s a sensitive boy
He’s so shy
You know how introverts are
(the voice of rationalization)

So no one sees his pain
he hides it even from himself
but it grows within him
(waiting for the voice of compassion)

/ / /

This poem was written to the 3 + (x) = Poem prompt at We Write Poems. Thanks to Amy Barlow Liberatore for the prompt idea and to We Write Poems for using it.

18 thoughts on “Voices

  1. Though I didn’t do this prompt, I like what you did with it. Sad to think of all the sensitive children carrying paih within them. I pray my grandson isn’t one.


    • Mary, thank you. It is sad to think of the children carrying pain within them. I, too, hope your grandson isn’t one of them. And I’m watching my eldest son very carefully, because he’s like me, and I worry that he might be carrying pain like that.



  2. Richard, This is a great piece of writing, that echoes what I’m seeing in young lady I’ll have in class this year. She refused to enter my room Friday, her first day. Luckily the most compassionate counselor I’ve had the pleasure to work with, accompanied her. We made a deal to get her to class early on Tuesday before the others file in, and she’ll sit in the back row. Oh goodness, the anger and resistance in this one is huge. She’ll be difficult to soften, if not impossible. She’s waiting for that voice of compassion, but at first she might just want to punch it in the face a few times.

    When I read work like this, it feels good due to the commonality of experience. You nailed this one. I appreciate your compassion, and imagine you’ve worked your way into the trust of many young people.



    • Brenda, thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful reply. I hope that young lady comes to appreciate all you have to offer. You know the anger and resistance are covering over pain. I hope that your voice of compassion works its way through her resistance, and that you don’t get punched in the face. And I’m glad you both have the support of such a compassionate counselor.

      I felt the same connection of commonality. It’s not good to know that young people are feeling that way, but it’s good to know that they’re not alone, and that we’re not alone in understanding and helping them



  3. There are some one doesn’t want to walk a mile in their shoes; although, it might explain much. Have we changed so much as a people? I don’t remember this being so prevalent when I was a child–of course, I wasn’t as perceptive either.


    • Mike, I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I wonder that myself quite often: “Have we changed so much as a people?” We have figured out a lot about the human mind, including emotions and disorders, in recent years, but how much of that is real, how much is theory, how much has been there all along, just unrecognized? I don’t have the answers, but I’m glad you asked.



    • Paula, thank you. This poem was difficult to write, not only in subject matter, but in trying to make good use of those parentheticals. Amy set up a challenging form. Glad you like it.



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