7000 Pairs of Shoes

For Poets United Midweek Motif – Scream. Since Sandy Hook School shooting in 2012, 7000 children have died in gun related violence – domestic violence, gang shootings, school shootings, accidental shootings…how many more of our children need to die by a gun? I read this today in the Washington Post.  I went outside and chopped wood and screamed…The shoes will be donated to children in need after the protest is over.

news copy photo

7000 Pairs of Shoes
14000 shoes on lawn in front of the Capitol
7000 pairs of shoes on the lawn in front of the Capitol –
Each pair equals one dead child –
A child that died of gun violence
A child that will no longer wear the shoes
to play, to skip rope,
to walk home from school with friends
t run to meet a parent home from work
to have both feet planted on the floor
to listen to teacher, to watch tv
or tt read a book, to sit at table,
to wear them while fishing with a friend or dad,
to wear them playing hopscotch,
to climb trees and jump for joy,
to eat dinner and crack jokes
to take off the shoes
and crawl into bed and sleep.
One of the protesters travelled
to set out his son’s pair of shoes –
He only realized after Columbine
He and his son wore the same size shoe…
I think of these  empty shoes…
Children killed since the shooting at Sandy Hook –
7000 children dead
7000 shoes without their child,
7000 families with a hole in their lives.
I want to scream.
I can only cry…
Some of the shoes are so very small.

news copy photo

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cindy knoke
    Mar 14, 2018 @ 20:19:27

    So powerful and so important!


  2. Susan
    Mar 14, 2018 @ 21:15:17

    Oh, the shoes! They have been haunting me, and you beautifully memorialized them. Thank you, thank you. Let all hearts break so the Light can get in.


  3. thotpurge
    Mar 14, 2018 @ 21:47:35

    places with shoes and no children to wear them and places where children have no shoes to wear…. the world is a horrible place truly.


  4. Sherry Marr
    Mar 15, 2018 @ 01:15:24

    And no one in the white house is hearing the families’ anguished cries, or working to make change. The children are going to be the change we need. I am inspired by them even as I deplore that they are forced to rise to the task the adults have failed to fulfil.


  5. Sumana Roy
    Mar 15, 2018 @ 02:51:06

    So very spontaneous and powerful words. The last two lines are heartbreaking. The poem reminds me of the last two lines of Wordsworth’s Lines Written In Early Spring: “Have I not reason to lament
    What man has made of man?”


  6. kim881
    Mar 15, 2018 @ 03:51:47

    Wow, Toni! I hadn’t seen the photograph before. I read the poem before I saw it so it had a powerful effect, especially as you’ve listed all the things those children won’t be doing, like taking off the shoes to crawl into bed and sleep – so poignant.


  7. Namratha Varadharajan
    Mar 15, 2018 @ 03:52:16

    Really sad. Scream, cry, protest until there is a change


  8. Bekkie Sanchez
    Mar 15, 2018 @ 13:34:11

    Me too.


  9. Khaya Ronkainen
    Mar 15, 2018 @ 14:27:12

    “I went outside and chopped wood and screamed.”
    I scream with you.


  10. magicalmysticalteacher
    Mar 15, 2018 @ 15:23:49

    Powerful! Perhaps if we keep telling the story of senseless gun violence the politicians will finally listen. One can hope…


  11. merrildsmith
    Mar 15, 2018 @ 16:58:34

    The photographs and videos I’ve seen are so powerful. Thank you for your words to go with the image. All we can do is keep speaking out–someday, maybe. . .


  12. grapeling
    Mar 15, 2018 @ 21:35:08

    it’s hard to ‘like’ this, but I do admire it. Rage, rage, against the dying of the light ~


  13. Rallentanda Goossens
    Mar 15, 2018 @ 22:54:16

    Fantastic poem. Keep on screaming. Never give up. You should feel proud of yourself and all the young people protesting. When it all gets too much of the people there is always a revolution. The truth lies in history. Politicians should read history books occasionally, presuming that they can read.


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