The manilla folder labelled “Poetry” in the Interim’s editorial office is stuffed thick with submissions from thoughtful readers, students and contest winners.
It’s a folder that is not well thumbed. Its contents resting quietly amid the dust and clatter, sacrificed to a mental calendar of what are seen as more timely matters.
Officially, The Interim does not publish works of poetry. Our mandate is to present pro-life news and commentary from a Canadian perspective, and to offer glimpses of pro-life activity from other parts of the world. How would these rhymed musings stack up against the cold hard facts of the struggle to defend human life?
But newspapers, like individuals shouldn’t be overly bound by policy. The Interim, after all, isn’t a typical newspaper. We advocate a certain position and we like to believe we serve the needs and interests of our pro-life community. And judging by the amount of poetry that filters into the office (not overwhelming but substantial just the same), perhaps it would be prudent to give voice to some of these inspired words.
What follows are selections of poetry received by the Interim since the summer of 1996. If the aim of poetry is to make us see things in a new light, its appearance here should not be reduced to a flight of editorial fancy.
Many of the poems are written from the point of view of the aborted child. While this construct can border on the maudlin, there are several passages here that are truly moving. Consider this verse from Brandon Weening’s Heaven’s Tiny Angels:
What treasures are you forfeiting
What angels you refuse
What gifts you get, you give away
Such joys of life you lose!
Brandon’s poem concludes with an inspiring verse describing the eternal reward of the aborted child. Although Catholic theology does not assume that the soul of an unborn children immediately goes to Heaven, our poets can expect some special licence. In this instance, Brandon has painted a bittersweet image of an unborn child in Heaven, wondering what it would have been like to have a mother:
They’ll come to a much better place,
They’ll crawl on streets of gold.
They’ll play around the Crystal Throne
Their joy will not grow old.
But they, like me, will wonder why
And will not understand.
Yet as they ask what moms are like
They’ll hold their Father’s hand.
Wanda Woodhouse of London, Ontario also personifies the aborted child in her submission To My Dear Mother. From Heaven, the child addresses the mother she never knew:
I shall be waiting for you that time,
To give you kisses and hugs,
Never to be parted anymore,
I shall always be your precious angel,
To love and cherish for evermore.
Other selections deal with the sadness and loss felt by women who have undergone abortion. These speak of the impetuous nature of the abortion decision and to the long-term grief that arises in its wake. One Toronto woman, in the poem Cry For An Unborn Child, expressed these thoughts as follows:
I thought it would be easy
To just wish this child away
But not I’m full of heartache
For I want this child to stay.
Now when I hear the angels
Weeping at her tomb
I’ll say a little prayer
For the child within my womb.
Anna-Marie Colenbrander, a supporter from Brantford, Ontario, sent three poems in recent correspondence with Campaign Life Coalition. Her work Little Things reveals the beauty of simplicity
Groping in the darkness
Exploring the world around you
Someday you will be able to touch.
Trying to run from the hate
Someday you will be able to walk.
Unable to talk
Silent in innocence
Someday you will be able to speak.
Bringing life to the body
Someday you will be able to grow.
Alive and doomed
Unaware of life’s hate
Someday you will be able to understand.
For Hilda Donnelly of North York, the sight of photos promoting the pro-abortion position inspired her poem Let Me Live! Its conceit is that of an unborn child listening from within to a steady drumbeat of pro-choice rhetoric.
Angry voices are shouting “you have a choice!
It’s your body.” Don’t I have a voice?
To be certain, some of the poems received at the Interim are more direct in their denunciation of the abortion/contraception mentality. Student Vicki Ma of St. Vincent de Paul school in Markham, Ontario submitted the poem Respect for Life, which describes a list of practices showing how life and human sexuality have become devalued in western society.
Her verses present glimpses of the abortion/contraceptive thinking, or the loss of morality in contemporary society. Each verse relates these scenes to a diminishing respect for life. The poem concludes on an optimistic note showing a stable family as a cornerstone for the passing on of life-affirming values.
Whatever the construct, talent-level or creativity, these poems reveal the depth of feeling on the right-to-life issue. And in a campaign in which words take on such special significance, perhaps a well turned phrase, an effective metaphor, and a memorable rhyme can be useful in keeping the consequences of the abortion-contraception mentality in mind.