ANN CARRUTH DONOGHUE

Sunrise delivers me
from a dark night of the soul
when the past came to plunder
and exhume the rotting corpse
I thought long hidden
neath unconsecrated bone,
And I relived the death of innocence
the pain and fear
I could not give a name to
though the stain will mark my skin
all the days of my life,
I felt the rupture
as heart was torn from breast
and flame extinguished
till all lay charred
unrecognizable ugly
no trace of beauty left,
And she lay where I’d left her
when I stepped out of her skin
to save the woman I had yet to be
but in times when my mind betrays me
I hear her keening still….

I’ve been writing since I was ten years old. It’s been my sanity and sanctuary. I’m a mother of two. A son and daughter. It’s been a long hard road. A daily struggle to keep the wolf from the door but my daughter is in her final month of college studying law and criminology. I’ve been the sole provider since she was nine years old. At times it gets lonely but better to be alone than to constantly walk on eggshells. So many years when I vanished from sight. I became an echo. A ghost. When you get so beaten down mentally and physically that you believe you’re nothing. Silence is an abusers biggest weapon. So many years when I thought why doesn’t he love me but the truth is… I didn’t love me. It took me fifty years to finally love myself. A lifetime. I put my pen down for twenty years because I let someone else control my life. Tell me I had nothing to say worth listening to.

When everything I knew collapsed around me and the pain felt like it would kill me. I picked up my pen and bled unto the page. My son set me up on a computer and suddenly a whole new world opened up. I met people from every corner of the earth who shared my love of words. They walked beside me along every crooked mile gave me the strength to keep going. I will probably never meet them in the flesh but I treasure each and every one. I shied away from posting in poetry groups for fear of ridicule. I left school at fifteen and they used words I’d never heard. By chance I ended up on a closed site run by a wonderful man called Kenny. He encouraged me to share my thoughts as did everyone on that site. Soul asylum. A fitting name. After a time I mustered the courage to post publically and no-one was more surprised than I when I gained a small following of people who related to the emotions I shared. To have your fairy tales shattered at twelve years old and to carry that shame and secret all your life not even telling your family. To yearn for someone to offer you a glass slipper and rescue you from the ashes. The knight on a white horse never came and princes kissed turned into frogs. The sting of fist and boot will steal what’s left of youth. People would message me and say “You write my life”. It was raw and ragged in plain language with nothing hidden. Kenny offered to publish me and with his help my first book was created. When I saw the cover for the first time I wept the emotions I still can’t voice even now.

To see it on Amazon with my name on the cover and people actually ordering it… I finally felt a sense of worth. I have a lot of work gathered for a second book but sadly due to bad health my publisher is no longer in business. I’ve hesitated to find another because Kenny understands me in a way that many would not. Where am I now? Older. A little wiser. I work hard and rarely socialise but the peace is priceless.

I still get dark days but I no longer fear the shadows or the voices in my head. I write. For those who have no voice.

John

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