Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Until That Moment

A moment’s inattention was all it took.
The mother, engaged in conversation,
at the market stall.
The small child, seeing the world beyond
through the open door,
ventured out on still-ungainly legs,
smiling and trusting.
Until that moment she knew only love;
her every need met.                                                          
Now, she wandered from safety, and became
just another obstacle on a busy road.
A moment’s inattention was all it took.
The driver, engaged in conversation,
on his mobile phone.
The small child, seeing the heavy truck
on the market street,
toddled forward with still-innocent trust,
laughing and pointing.
Until that moment she knew only happiness;
her every question answered.
Now, she lay crushed and broken, and became
just another pile of rubbish on a busy road.
A moment’s attention was all that was needed.
People engaged in conversation,
as they looked away.
The small child smashed by a second truck
the motorcyclist
circled round the bloody mess,
uncaring and unfeeling.
Until that moment they had emotions;
their every human instinct was to care.
Now they witnessed callous indifference and became
just casual observers on a street of shame.
A moment’s attention was all that was needed.
A rubbish collector, diverted from her task,
tried to make sense of what she saw.
Until this moment she was a shadow;
her every movement unnoticed.
Now, she moved the damaged child from harm’s way and became 
a ray of hope in a shameful world.

© Marilyn Brindley

I wrote this poem in response to the horrifying news item about the Chinese toddler run over and left to die, as eighteen people hurried past, or looked the other way. I was delighted to have it published last week on Poetry24. I hope this means that more people were able to read it and perhaps ponder on what questions it raises for Chinese society in the 21st century. 


  1. So, so very sad indeed, how one fleeting moment can wipe away so much so quickly. That poor dear child, and may your words so neatly and precisely written be before all future eyes so that this kind of horror does not happen again.

  2. Stories like this threaten to destroy my faith in humankind. So hard to fathom. Very touching poem though. I appreciate the focus at the end on the ray of hope...an important reminder for me.

  3. hi little neil,i really like your poem,well done,and keep visiting my blog

  4. I read the reports of the incident in China - and it does seem to have had a significant effect on a lot of Chinese people. Perhaps something good can come out of the tragedy. Fine words - they made me think : no writer can ask for anything more.

  5. A Strong Poem About A Very Fragile Subject.