Not Just a Statistic

The prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write a poem in common meter, but to use some of the tricks that Emily Dickenson used to make common meter a little more interesting. I love an opportunity to sort of break the rules of form, but only a little.

The topic of this poem is one that I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I decided this challenge was the time to trot it out.

Not Just a Statistic

Statistics are eye-opening
But overwhelming—sad
Three thousand babies killed each day
Yet women’s rights can’t cede

Statistics belie tragedy
Each single data point
A mother—and a single child
Ever a mournful plaint

Behind each dreaded statistic
Individual lives
Each one suffering painfully
Waiting to know God loves

Let’s look beyond the statistics
Open our eye as well
To all the hurt souls who need us
Provide hope as they wail

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My blood family is only part of the larger family of Christ that I belong to. I love to write, especially about my dear Savior.


19 Responses

  1. Oh the stories of human.. dark and light..
    truth is.. in countries like Mexico
    where abortion is illegal..
    there are as many
    abortions as there
    are in the U.S…
    more women
    are permanently
    disabled and more
    life suffers at
    the hands
    of ignorance
    in medically
    unsafe abortions..
    abortion as sad
    as that reality or
    even worse
    as infanticide
    as most mammals
    do has always been
    a dark part of human
    nature.. too..
    and no human
    can change that
    as GOD rules
    THAT.. Nature
    ain’t easy
    but IT IS
    and So is
    GOD as
    where no
    human rules
    GOD as Nature..
    The best CURE
    for abortions are
    safe and effective
    birth control and the
    hands of potential
    less blood letting is refused
    by some churches supposedly
    worshiping .. GOD.. GOD
    does not give us
    a brain
    using it
    saves human
    suffering and misery..
    Birth control is the
    simple answer
    for that
    in pill
    or other
    safe and
    of knife or worse..
    Ignorance is a sword that kills…
    i go to Catholic Church every Sunday..
    and fight for intelligent alternatives
    to fight ignorance and suffering..
    effective change to reduce human
    suffering comes
    within with
    GOD of nature..
    and never against
    GOD’s LAWS of Nature..:)

      • Me too. Lazy with form, images, using 30 words when 10 will do…this is a good exercise for us and I am please at how well we all did. We can do it!!!

  2. could hear the strong voice behind the lines…the thought to look beyond statistics and reach out to individuals is very much uplifting & inspiring…a dream slant rhyme here…wow…

  3. Real people instead of statistics, individual stories rather than generalisations. That’s what poetry and fiction is all about – and that’s what opens our eyes and hearts, I should hope.

  4. One cannot not argue at the moral issues vs. abortion, but a fatherless child born in poverty to a crack Mom is, for me, allowing a different kind of tragedy. You feel for ED was superb, slant rhymes, four quatrains, etc; good work on this prompt & strong voice.

  5. In education, statistics often made me cringe. We see the faces behind the numbers while those who juggle with figures do not. A very powerful write with a great title!

  6. So true that no human being is only a statistic. No one woman. No one child. I do think we really need to think about individuals & care for individuals. Listening is a first step. Your poetry is becoming stronger and stronger, Linda.

  7. The numbers can be very overwhelming ~ I think its important to listen to each story and provide help and assistance ~

    Very well done with the form Linda ~

  8. You really caught on to Emily’s use of slant rhyme and used it very effectively in this thought-provoking poem.
    I have to wonder if there were more people really there for women who find themselves in such difficult situations, people who listen deeply and are really present to them, how would things be different?

      • So many needs unfilled. It makes us appreciate how really limited we are. I believe that we do have a role to play by our writing. When I used to do readings in my Parish, I always prayed that it would touch at least one person. Mother Teresa said that. Someone asked her how she expected to reach so many needy people. She answered, “One person at a time.”

  9. Statistics can be manipulated as well to mean pretty much whatever you want them to mean. It all comes down to who is telling the story behind them. But when you put live to each statistic – and hear their story from them – it is hard to argue with that.

    • I took a statistics class in college and the only thing I remember is the Mark Twain quote: “There are three kinds of falsehoods: lies, damn lies, and statistics.” It is true that they can be manipulated, but somewhere in each statistic are real people. I think the stories of real people are much more powerful and motivating. Peace, Linda

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