William Clifford CC
A Person of Value
She thought herself of no value, no value at all.
Her father used her, abused her, her brothers too.
She was trash, they said, to be thrown away,
and this went on and on as she grew.
Her mother ignored her, said nothing at all
to stop her from thinking this true.
But there must have been something within
that she just could not dismiss
a sense of herself as other than this,
because she walked in our office one day
and with her eyes averted, her head down
she began to talk, but with barely a sound,
with a shame too deep to be spoken out loud
yet slowly she spoke and she spoke out loud
a litany of wrongs that seemed without end
from the gang of adolescent boys
to the continuing rapes by strangers and kin
acts she despised herself for
blaming herself not them.
The well-meaning counselor tried to relieve her
She spoke of her value, her goodness, her innocent heart
and the girl tried hard to believe her
but she left the agency after only a start
and no one heard of her after.
Until a few years later the local paper
published the news of yet another disaster,
another opioid overdose,
a young woman found dead and alone in her room.
But she was not an addict.
She used her brother’s drugs.
Why did she do it?
Because, because, because
There are many more people I know
who do not value themselves
with far less cause than this,
and have never discovered
their one and only loveliness.
They need to be taught.
We need to teach each other
our own inestimable value,
and coax the wary soul
out into the open air
with a gentle and a tender care
over and over.
For is it not true
that to give a thing its value
only love will do?
Dorothy Riehm is a retired therapist and social worker who lives at Rocky Hill Cohousing in Northampton, Massachusetts. She has always loved reading and writing poetry and for the last few years has been pursuing her own writing more seriously, with the hope that she has something to contribute both from her experience as a social worker as well as from her many other experiences in a long and well-traveled lifetime. She is also enjoying the teaching of poetry this year to a small home school class, in addition to learning much herself from writing with others in a weekly writing group.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.