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  • The story of my childhood poem

     Leahle updated 4 months, 3 weeks ago 12 Members · 24 Posts
  • Sury

    June 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

    Inside out

    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

    Selective Mutism


    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


  • Brocha

    June 17, 2020 at 10:59 pm

    Sury, this is so poignant!


  • Sherry

    June 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.

  • Anagrammer

    June 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.

  • StoryLuver

    June 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.


  • Sury

    June 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 🙂 )


  • riva pomerantz

    June 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”.

    • Sury

      June 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.

  • Leahle

    June 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

  • Sury

    June 18, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks, Leahle!!

  • StoryLuver

    June 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.





  • Anagrammer

    June 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).

  • Sury

    June 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.

  • Pickupapen

    June 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!

  • Sury

    June 18, 2020 at 6:06 pm

    Thanks, Pickupapen!

  • MH

    July 2, 2020 at 10:15 pm

    That’s beautiful, so moving!

  • Esther

    July 3, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    Wow.  So much sadness there, but also so much hope.

  • Sury

    July 3, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    Thank you MH and Esther for reading my poem 🙂

  • Bookworm

    July 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!


  • Sury

    July 9, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    Hey ‘Bookworm’,

    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…


  • Bookworm

    July 9, 2020 at 6:59 pm

    Im 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

    Best regards,

  • Sury

    July 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!

  • Leahle

    July 9, 2020 at 11:43 pm

    Wow, wow,Wow!!!

    Bookworm, this is an unbelievable song!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am litterallymspeechless…

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