Sunday, October 14, 2012


Dear Mom,

I had a 40th grade school reunion about a week ago. A few traveled from out of state: all the way from California and two from Texas. Several drove hours from Illinois and the outskirts of Missouri. It was nice that those who came made the effort.

I personally was impressed with one classmate. One who was bullied—it wasn’t called that back then, but that’s what it was… I feel shame for not being brave enough to have put an end to it. Or for not truly being her friend. I was kind of dumb.

I think about my own kids and how they were brave enough to help the underdog. I thank God that I at least taught them better. I found out years later that my own baby had been picked on in high school… she never told me then. But talk about a heart breaker.

I’m not a poet, so my critique friends gave me a few tips. Thank you.

This poem could be for my daughter too, but I wrote it for my classmate.


I could never be that brave.
Day after day after day
teased, tormented,
Ugly words slapping her face.

Nearly everyone participated
in some shape or form.
I don’t know how
she held her head high.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones,
but words will never hurt me.”
They hurt me just watching.
I wasn’t brave.

I didn’t stand up and
say, “Stop it. Leave her alone.”
Darkness settled near me, I feared I’d be next.
No, I wasn’t brave.

I wondered when she got home
from school whether she dreamed
of a better life. Did she write in her diary
who she hated, anger filling page after page?

Or were the pages soaked
from tears spilling out, endlessly?
Because sticks and stones…
words do hurt.

There are choices
wallow in self-pity, or pick up
all the pieces and put yourself back together again.
Make a difference in the world.

To be so brave.

I’ve always admired
and will always admire
her beauty, her strength
her courage.

With love,


  1. Beautiful, Lynn! You definitely are a writer of poetry. I understand how you feel about that classmate. When we're younger, our brains truly have not developed, but why some kids choose to be "mean" and others don't...I don't know. I was like you. I didn't participate in bullying, but I didn't stop it, either. Fearful of my own fate, just like you. When will it end? I have no answer for that. Again, this was very beautifully written, Lynn!

  2. You've spoken for so many here, Lynn. I love the line, "They hurt me just watching."

  3. Oh, Lynn. It is so sad that bullying happens and so many young and fragile people are hurt. I'm sorry about your daughter, your friend and for how bullying changed our granddaughter's life forever.

    You did a great job on your poem!

    I try to plan ahead on how I will respond to situations like these. I am older now, of course, but when I read about somebody getting hurt and crowds watching, nobody calling the cops, etc. I picture myself doing something to help.

    Kathy M.

  4. That is such a beautiful poem, Lynn, just wonderful!
    Getting bullied is never a good thing, and it is sad that its often left unsaid...

  5. This poem is amazing, Lynn. I've read it twice; will read it again. I do hope you've shared it with the classmate for whom it was written.


Thanks for commenting. I don't always comment back, but I do appreciate it.