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Innocence lost

 Two toddlers out
in playful, care-free fashion
trusting that where they are is safe and
they can be curious and explore for
they will be watched
they will be cared for
‚Äėcause they are loved.

But unbeknownst to them
they are being watched
to be pounced on
in a cunning…unexpected…unsuspected and
violent manner

Gone is the innocence,
gone are the young lives full of promise, leaving
two life-less bodies, raped and murdered
and left in a public toilet
with only the newspaper headlines shouting out loud for the whole world to hear

“where were the mothers…
Why are they not looking after their young?‚ÄĚ many asked
Where were the fathers…I wondered
Where was I…?
Where was humanity, when such an inhumane act was carried out?

Then swiftly they were caught
four men and one still running…hiding
Why run…why the cowardice…
Why hide whilst all along they thought their atrocious deed equalled manhood

What should be done?
Lock them up and throw away the keys?
Castrate them and mark them on their forehead?

Violent thoughts, actions and reactions will only breed more
Love, hope, forgiveness, tolerance, compassion, education is what we need
As we all once again take responsibility for protecting our children
for your child is my child, is our child

God bless us, Your children and bless and protect our nation

Sr. Katy van Wyk OP, 2014


This picture, painted by Sr. Rosella Langer, one of our fellow Dominican sisters, together with the on-going violence against children in South Africa, prompted me to write the poem.