How is the truth to be said?


Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,
The singers and workers that never handled the air.
You will never neglect or beat
Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.
You will never wind up the sucking-thumb
Or scuttle off ghosts that come.
You will never leave them, controlling your luscious sigh,
Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye.

I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed children.
I have contracted. I have eased
My dim dears at the breasts they could never suck.
I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if I seized
Your luck
And your lives from your unfinished reach,
If I stole your births and your names,
Your straight baby tears and your games,
Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches, and your deaths,
If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths,
Believe that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate.
Though why should I whine,
Whine that the crime was other than mine?—
Since anyhow you are dead.
Or rather, or instead,
You were never made.
But that too, I am afraid,
Is faulty: oh, what shall I say, how is the truth to be said?
You were born, you had body, you died.
It is just that you never giggled or planned or cried.

Believe me, I loved you all.
Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved, I loved you

-Gwendolyn Brooks, 1945

Gwendolyn Brooks










I found this poem in the collection
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry.


13 thoughts on “How is the truth to be said?

  1. That is an excellent collection of poetry. Similar sentiments apply to the babies we lose before they are born. Something I will never stop wondering about.


  2. Forty-eight years ago today the Supreme Court ( maybe I should put that title in ” ” ?) ruled that abortion is a ***right***. Irony abounds in that word.

    This is quite a powerful poem to plumb such a subject of sorrow. May God have mercy…


  3. Such a sad poem. Heartbreaking. A young woman that I know had an abortion this past year and she will never ‘get over it’. The sorrow will always be there.


  4. Thank you for posting this poem about something that all women feel instinctively, God created us to carry life within our wombs for nine months then to give birth to another human soul. Even as I pray against this horrific evil, the taking of a life through abortion, I pray too for those who have been participants. It has been proven the harm and damage it does to you emotional, spiritual, and psychologically. Only the forgiveness of Christ can redeem, and it does. And this too is a truth we must minister to those women (and involved men) who have this in their past.
    We must not forget nor shut down our voices against it.


  5. My heart goes out to women who have felt so cornered that they felt they had no other option but to abort. I’ve always been strongly pro-life, and I like to think I still am. Yet, the more I connect and/or listen to those who have walked in different shoes (perhaps some without?) the more I see the complexities that surround abortion. I trust Christ has mercy enough for all.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Heartbreaking lines about what might have been, if only. It’s a subject I learned to stay off of on social media after being hounded for even bringing up the utter barbaric practice of partial birth abortion that I felt like women of either party couldn’t possibly support.


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