Prelude to a Nightmare (a nocturne)
I remember bedtime prayers to Him
Resting in peace until
lifted on devil’s wings
by another Him and hidden
No cry in darkness,
only strangled fear
stifled invasion of trust
Today, I still pray
He rests in peace now
No longer do I fear
his dry hands, betrayal
Lifted on angel’s wings
Cry of forgiveness
in the blessed peace
of moonlit prayer
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Image through Wikimedia Commons: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
PTSD isn’t just for veterans, people who survived 9/11, or Katrina and Oklahoma victims. Night terrors and phobias often plague adults who were sexually abused as children. Years of therapy led me to the path of forgiveness. Dad no longer controls me, and my prayers at night always include him, for all the good things he taught me, including a love of words and poetry.
The rest is out there in a bubble, outside my body and my psyche, yet available for inspection, now that I’m stronger.
This was written for Kim’s prompt at Poets United (I remember…) and also for Kerry’s “Nocturne” prompt at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. Peace, Amy
June 5, 2013 at 11:51 am
The terrors of the night can be the worst kind, and very hard to overcome. I felt the mood shift between the first and second stanza, and I also like the religious motifs you wove throughout the lines.
June 5, 2013 at 11:52 am
Oh Amy–my heart to you–Peace–Audrey
Sherry Blue Sky
June 5, 2013 at 12:23 pm
Amy, you are every bit a veteran of war, risen to near exultation in having achieved forgiveness of this betrayal in your lifetime. Bravo!
June 5, 2013 at 12:34 pm
Your courage is one of your defining virtues.
June 5, 2013 at 12:54 pm
This is sad and courageous, makes me want to pray.
June 5, 2013 at 12:57 pm
As always good (tho painful) stuff
June 5, 2013 at 1:11 pm
These pieces make the reader stronger too.
June 5, 2013 at 1:27 pm
You express the journey through that night beautifully here, Amy. There’s an old cliche that I deeply believe in–a sorrow shared is a sorrow halved, and when we share our own pain with lightness, casting it into the winds, we can lighten the burdens of others. Thanks for this, an excellent response to the challenge.
June 5, 2013 at 2:30 pm
Bravo, my sistah. Love, Pop-o Mosk
June 5, 2013 at 4:06 pm
We both write about release from pain, Amy, but this may be the hardest kind. An excellent poem.
June 5, 2013 at 4:44 pm
Amy, your words express the strength that time has given you.
June 5, 2013 at 5:05 pm
I am in awe of your strength and grace.
June 5, 2013 at 5:19 pm
Forgiveness can be hard to come by under such circumstances. Your powerful poem explains the pain and also your journey to forgiveness. Excellent work!
June 5, 2013 at 5:29 pm
I meant to sign in with law-poetry.blogspot.com, not lawpoetry which is my wordpress account which I don’t use.
June 5, 2013 at 6:06 pm
Forgiveness, forgiveness, yes, yes…
June 5, 2013 at 6:56 pm
I understand what you speak of here. I cannot say that I gained anything good from my abuse, other than what didn’t kill me made me stronger. He taught me nothing.
June 5, 2013 at 7:07 pm
Shivers up and down my arms, hair raised. A sinking heart. Awe at the power to forgive. This is what went through me as I read this poem.
Susie Clevenger (@wingsobutterfly)
June 5, 2013 at 8:39 pm
Oh I know this terror. Only it was an uncle that touched me with demon hands. I too forgave him to free myself. There are pieces of the nightmare that linger hidden in my memory so deep I can’t recall it. I hope I never will.
June 5, 2013 at 8:54 pm
So good that you were able to forgive, to free yourself, to be able to move on. But I know this kind of terror lives always….can never really be put away.
Kay, Alberta, Canada
June 6, 2013 at 12:13 am
I do not know your terrors, but I know my own, and one deep feeling understands another. Forgiveness is the only road to freedom, but it’s a hard, hard road.
June 6, 2013 at 12:59 am
This rings so true…freedom is lost for those who fight for our country!
Powerful and so well done 😀
June 6, 2013 at 1:57 am
Mama……. I am not as good as ur are with words…………Its sad but still gives a hope to life only if u forgive,,………..
June 6, 2013 at 4:21 am
In the darkness comes alive the profoundest of fears. But moving on as forgiveness is perhaps, the toughest but the most peaceful way of looking at it. The two prompts gave you an outlet,
Will be glad to hear from you at:
June 6, 2013 at 5:58 am
Lifted on devils wings.. I like your use of word and what you create
J Cosmo Newbery
June 6, 2013 at 6:48 am
It’s good that you can write about it. Its lovely that you can write about it so well.
June 6, 2013 at 11:38 am
Hopefully cathartic for you. One step at a time. The tragedy of these unwanted experiences is that they take away time, distract from moments of living that should be one’s choice.
Thank you for your reference to PTSD
June 6, 2013 at 12:46 pm
You are a strong woman. It takes such courage to face these demons and even more to forgive. Beautiful and inspiring poem.
June 6, 2013 at 3:22 pm
I was “blessed” with no conscious memory for my childhood but always feared HIM. He died a few years ago. Sometimes I have to remind myself he’s dead now. Such a well written expression of that awful fear and violation. I do hope they go to hell and are not with angels. Hope that is not offensive to you.
June 6, 2013 at 4:33 pm
Heartbreaking and chilling. ♥ to you.
June 6, 2013 at 8:57 pm
Thank you for this personal and heartfelt share ~ To forgive and include him in your prayers take a lot of courage ~ Have a lovely weekend Amy ~
June 7, 2013 at 10:14 pm
Forgiveness is strength and the only way to peace. thanks for sharing what must be a difficult time in your life.
June 8, 2013 at 11:30 am
You are right, Amy. But I still remember and I could never forgive even though I love him even in his grave. Not sexual there, but physical. Mom too. Dad changed, became a deacon, Sunday school teacher, prayer partner, and obviously saved. But WE never did talk of those earlier days. I am glad we didn’t.
June 14, 2013 at 3:34 pm
Amy, forgiveness is powerful, more powerful than keeping everything locked up. I’m so glad that you got there, sorry that those devil’s wings ever existed, though. A beautiful and heartfelt poem.