MemberJune 17, 2020 at 10:22 pm
They called me mute
Refusing to believe
That within me is a voice
Longing to break free
They called me a ‘dolly’
Pointing at my school portrait
‘A doll can not communicate,
With you is much the same story’
They called me dumb
Misinterpreting my silence
For perfect ignorance
With nothing to be done
They thought they knew me
Yet, you hadn’t a clue
What I’m all about
I wished more than you to
Release the chains on my voice-box
Let my words flow through
Unearth the key to the lock
In the corner of the school yard
The little girl you’d go seek
That same question you’d ask
‘Why don’t you speak?’
My mouth would zip up once more
‘I wish I knew’ I didn’t say
My throat shut the door
And you’d skip off again to play
There were those who ignored
‘Just leave the poor child
She clearly doesn’t want to talk’
Why was I riled?
In my mind I’d be screaming
I’m just like you
In my heart I’d be crying
I have feelings too
If only you’d have spied me
In my comfort zone
I’d be queen in my own right
A transformation at home
I’d sing, dance and play
Giggle, chatter and fight
Act, laugh and cry
Paint, draw and write
I’d show my exquisite feathers
Like a peacock at its best
As soon as I’d step back in school
My feathers would compress
They said it has a name
A choice of speech and silence
In specific times and places
They gave up hope for me
The girl with no attributes
‘Oh, dear, what will be with her
The little girl who is mute?’
Now, take a look, people
See what I’ve become
Yes, do a double take
And be briefly struck dumb
I’ve given speeches for the public
Starred in a sprinkling of plays
Taught children in schools
Been plenty on stage
You may stop dead in your tracks
You may widen your eyes
In astonishment and shock
This may be a surprise
It’s all in the Hands of Hashem
Who holds the precious keys
Of speech and silence
He has heeded my plea
Hashem has bestowed me
With the gift of voice
To express my thanks
I do sing and rejoice
MemberJune 17, 2020 at 10:59 pm
Sury, this is so poignant!
MemberJune 18, 2020 at 12:03 am
Seriously speechless. The power of poems.
Sury, you’ve got a lovely, unpretentious style that I can’t help but be drawn in.
MemberJune 18, 2020 at 1:32 am
Wow, Sury, this is so powerful. I’m so sorry you had to go through that…. Perhaps because of it, though, you were able to develop your inner voice.
MemberJune 18, 2020 at 5:03 am
Wow, this poem is amazing, and it really struck a chord.
I was that kid, and you described the experience so aptly, with a rawness that I’m not nearly brave enough to spill ?
I’ve always wished for people to understand the minds of these kids.
The second part though… public speeches? Teaching?
“Never in a million years,” is what I always say. But your poem might make me second guess that. Thanks.
MemberJune 18, 2020 at 11:47 am
Thank you all for your positive feedback! It’s what encourages me continue writing…which is absolutely better than talking!
StoryLuver, I’m glad you connect with my poem, especially because not many people who I know, do. And, public speaking, teaching…? Trust me, you can! (though I confess, with a million butterflies and collywobbles in my stomach beforehand 🙂 )
AdministratorJune 18, 2020 at 12:11 pm
Wow, Sury, just wow! Your amazing poem mirrors your amazing transformation. We can only write about our past experiences with this kind of strength and courage when we have processed them and overcome them to to the point that we are no longer governed by fear and resentment. You can see that this poem sparkles not with condemnation, but with acceptance and almost compassion for whoever did not understand your silent-shouting inner world. There is so much self-awareness here. Whenever I read a precious piece like this, I am struck by how little we ever really know a person and their journey. Thank you for sharing yours with us here.
Have you ever thought of exploring selective mutism in fiction to give more awareness to this important topic and also tools for how to respond appropriately to children who suffer from it? I think it would be fascinating to read a story about a girl with selective mutism. Many of us are unaware of what it “is”.
MemberJune 18, 2020 at 2:01 pm
Thank you, Riva, for your detailed analysis of my poem! I’m so touched that you read it. Also, I appreciate that you realised that my ‘poem sparkles not with condemnation, but with acceptance.’ Baruch Hashem, I can write from this perspective.
It’s funny that you asked me about exploring selective mutism in fiction, because I’m actually up to my knees in a novel about this particular topic. It’s indeed a concept that many people are unaware of what it is, and I’m hoping to publish this book someday.
MemberJune 18, 2020 at 12:47 pm
Wow! Sury, this Poem Spikes a Feeling within me that cannot be explained…
I am simply intrigued! This Talent of writing together with your childhood experience! Something very very Special!!
Thanks for sharing
MemberJune 18, 2020 at 2:02 pm
MemberJune 18, 2020 at 4:29 pm
Tzipi Caton’s book Invisible Me is about a teen with selective mutism, but it is, by her own admission, not backed by research and very unrealistic. it’s a good book, don’t get me wrong! Highly recommended. But it’s far from an accurate depiction of what selective mutism really is and feels like.
Sury, I’m wondering what, exactly, you are writing about, because selective mutism by its textbook definition really only affects very young kids- preschool aged, about. I know I had it because my mother told me so, but it wasn’t that episode itself that stayed with me, it was the years of not-selective-mutism-in-its-strictest-sense but what people would simply call shy. It was so much more than that, though. That’s why I’m glad you’re writing this book. There’s so much I wish I could have told people over the years, so much I wish they would have understood.
Like that feeling of you wish you could say something, tell someone something, but you can’t because you’re just too terrified. And no one understands why.
I always had dreams of dumbfounding my classmates with admissions of my real self, but that never really happened.
So, the first half of your poem- my words exactly.
MemberJune 18, 2020 at 4:38 pm
There is a book called “Nowhere to Hide” by Ruth Halevi about a ten-year-old girl with selective mutism (as a result of a trauma).
MemberJune 18, 2020 at 6:01 pm
Right, there are a few books about this, but not many. Also, selective mutism doesn’t always come as a result of trauma.
StoryLuver, you said it! All these feelings…exactly what I felt (and still feel sometimes).
So my book is actually about a teen (aged 14) who had selective mutism as a young child, but she’s still extremely shy and it’s hard for her to talk around people. So it’s kinda like you said: the ‘not-selective-mutism-in-its-strictest-sense’ stage, which I think is equally important to raise awareness to. While people think you’re just painfully shy, there’s so much more to it.
MemberJune 18, 2020 at 6:03 pm
I loved your poem Sury, and especially the happy ending. ?
I think many of us know somebody who struggles with selective mutism and a poem like this can really offer hope!
MemberJune 18, 2020 at 6:06 pm
MemberJuly 2, 2020 at 10:15 pm
That’s beautiful, so moving!
MemberJuly 3, 2020 at 12:28 pm
Wow. So much sadness there, but also so much hope.
MemberJuly 3, 2020 at 4:49 pm
Thank you MH and Esther for reading my poem 🙂
MemberJuly 9, 2020 at 11:02 am
I love this poem and it speaks from my own heart. B”H I never had selective mutism but I am quite shy and I used to stand on the outside a lot, socially. I actually wrote a poem (it got published) to express my frustration when people think that they can just ignore me or leave me out. It`s very humiliating and painful.
Thank you so much Sury!
MemberJuly 9, 2020 at 3:20 pm
You’re very welcome and I’m pleased that you related to my poem. I would love to see yours if you don’t mind 😉
Yes it is definitely very painful to be left on the side-lines…
MemberJuly 9, 2020 at 6:59 pm
m a bit embarassed to share my poem on here because it is not professionally written like yours or anyones I read until now. I will share with you a song I wrote a while ago. It is not the same as the poem, but it, more or less, brings out the same point. The other poem has been published under my real name, which I dont want to share on here (yet.). Besides, my song is better written than my poem.
I hope you know the tune. 🙂 And I hope you understand what I want to bring out with it.
I am an individual!
Tune: Keep climbing! By Avraham Fried
I always thought I wanna be
Like another rain drop in the sea
Or another leaf hanging on the tree
Feeling so cold and left out
All I wanted to do is shout
I am a human being just like you
Why can`t I be part of you too?
Chorus: But I am an individual!
I am proud of who I am
Though it sometimes seems hard
I have to play my own part
I can’t be like the others
And they can’t be me
Only like this I can set myself free
Yes, I am individual!
I am worth much more than others think
Even though between everyone I seem to shrink
I am the biggest star in the world, you see
And that is because I am ME
On some days when I feel like giving up
Everything I just want to drop
It`s too hard to go all the way
Down here I want to stay
Suddenly, a voice in me starts to shout
Hey, c`mon, pick your head up proud
It doesn’t matter if you have friends at all
but you must stand strong and tall
MemberJuly 9, 2020 at 9:03 pm
I love your song, ‘Bookworm’! It really encapsulates the feeling of being left out and the desperate inner cry to belong. My favourite line is:
‘But I am an individual!’
You can see that it’s written from deep within your heart. Thank you for sharing it!
MemberJuly 9, 2020 at 11:43 pm
Bookworm, this is an unbelievable song!!!!!!!!!!!
I am litterallymspeechless…
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