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Friday, 21 October 2011

Until That Moment

A moment’s inattention was all it took.
The mother, engaged in conversation,
at the market stall.

The small child, seeing the world beyond
through the open door,
ventured out on still-ungainly legs,
smiling and trusting.

Until that moment she knew only love;
her every need met.
Now, she wandered from safety, and became
just another obstacle on a busy road.

A moment’s inattention was all it took.
The driver, engaged in conversation,
on his mobile phone.

The small child, seeing the heavy truck
on the market street,
toddled forward with still-innocent trust,
laughing and pointing.

Until that moment she knew only happiness;
her every question answered.
Now, she lay crushed and broken, and became
just another pile of rubbish on a busy road.

A moment’s attention was all that was needed.
People engaged in conversation,
as they looked away.

The small child smashed by a second truck
the motorcyclist
circled round the bloody mess,
uncaring and unfeeling.

Until that moment they had emotions;
their every human instinct was to care.
Now they witnessed callous indifference and became
just casual observers on a street of shame.

A moment’s attention was all that was needed.
A rubbish collector, diverted from her task,
tried to make sense of what she saw.

Until this moment she was a shadow;
her every movement unnoticed.
Now, she moved the damaged child from harm’s way and became
a ray of hope in a shameful world.

© Marilyn Brindley

Chinese toddler run over twice after being left on street
Marilyn is a retired primary school head teacher, who now has the time to indulge in the writing she's always wanted to do and read the works of other creative individuals.


  1. This has shocked the world, hasn't it? Let's hope it makes us all think. Thanks for writing about it.

  2. Almost incredibly callous. No, it is incredibly callous. It is only the shock and disgust experienced by so many people that offers any hope that 'humanity' is even worthy of the title. I suspect some of the 'wild' animals shot in Ohio would have shown more compassion for their wounded young.

  3. It was such an unbelievably shocking incident that I felt compelled to write about it. I think we are all hoping that something good will come out of the world reactions.

    Marilyn Brindley (aka Little Nell)

  4. A heart rending story indeed and I wonder if the fact that the poor child is female played a part in that passers-by ignored her plight. If the horrific scene had not been placed on YouTube – would we know of it now?

    In China (especially due to the one child policy) it is important to have boys as only boys are able to carry on the family name and honour ancestors. Female children are regarded as having little value. This has led to sex-selective abortions and infanticide, creating gender disparity.

    Hopefully this horrific affair has made China take a long hard look at itself.

    Thank you so much for the poem Marilyn.

    Anna :o]

  5. Why is the fragility and gift of life so frequently taken for granted and overlooked?
    In this poem you have balanced the fine line between protection, care and attention with indifference, ignorance and nonchalance.
    We are NEVER too busy or distracted to put another human's life lower on the priority list than anything else.
    A very strong poem which forces us all to remember why we are here and to think about what is important. Poignant.
    Thank-you Marylin.


  6. I like your approach to this - the "until that moment" reveals just how this situation made such an impact on you, and how so many of us are stunned that this could happen. We must be thankful for those rays of hope that still remain in this often callous world.