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Gone forever.
There was a light inside of her.
There is in most ten-year-olds,
I suppose.
The magical side of the naive mind.
Or a mind that wanted to be.
You could see her sitting there,
staring out her bedroom window.
Head in the cloud,
mind full of dreams,
just as it was meant to be.
Behind the typical, everyday council estate.
There was life,
there was love,
Just not enough of it.
Not enough money,
not enough time,
not enough space,
every basic necessity
that the government overlooked.
Politicians neglecting their positions.
But oh no,
they did not feel it.
Oh no.
It hits the heart, the hope,
the next generation, that could have been…
inventors, creators, dreamers
something more.
But somewhere along the line, they slip and fall.
No safety net in place.
Young death and lost minds.
Hidden behind the masks upper class, middle-
aged men.
Born and raised laissez-faire.
Deciding whatʼs best.
A culture that expects collateral damage.
A class, a generation, grown up,
believing that they are that collateral.
Becoming it.
Gone, gone, gone,
turned into stats –
black and white figures of a lost life,
lost light.
She was not there, just yet,
there was something deep,
stronger than the stereotype.
The life made for her
was not the life she had in mind.
On her way,
paving the path,
the path was not yet made.
Work hard,
it was her only hope and she knew it.
She knew it too well.
Daddy had dreams for her,
Daddy didnʼt want her to rely on
the government that had already failed her.
Daddy fell down.
City life with a lack of jobs and a need for comfort.
Something to numb the pain.
Her daddy thought this was the way.
Cash in hand kinda job.
Locked closet,
She did not want to know what it held.
She could ignore it on weekdays,
Daddy was a plumber,
do not question it.
The weekends she would bury her head in the sandpit,
spend every waking hour,
making sure she did not have time to question it.
Self-preservation is hard to maintain in social isolation.
You cannot run away from your reality forever.
Some get just a little longer than others.
Mom was not happy
Daddy was a puppeteer in the world of addiction.
Mom wanted to leave.
But money is too tight and housing is scarce.
She must wait it out.
The ever-growing tension is easier to ignore from the school bus.
But it does not go anymore.
Her teachers said she had it,
had the world between her hands.
But she was losing it.
Losing light.
Losing grip.
Do not get bored, little girl.
Do not open the locked closet.
Put your headphones in,
blare the music.
Write the words,
do not fall.
Do not fall yet.
Oh, wait, too late.
Her music has been cut off,
Mom just cannot afford it.
Now she must listen,
to every fight,
every shout.
Canʼt pretend anymore,
they ainʼt gonna work it out.
She was invisible to try and help out,
but nowadays itʼs like sheʼs not even there.
Itʼs like they just donʼt care.
Her light’s fading away.
She tries to rock the boat,
show them sheʼs there.
Try to make them aware.
Good intentions with no avail.
Every minute of every day was spent in her broken home,
all alone.
She fades away.
She canʼt even pretend to be on the magical side with a naive mind.
She unlocks the locked closet.
It was not worth it.
Worst fears confirmed.
Before she even had a chance.
Girls her age should be afraid of things that go bang in the night.
But sheʼs too focused on the men that are meant
to protect her
taking her Daddy away.
Momʼs losing her mind,
lost her job.
The only income that they could keep inside a bank.
Momʼs always in the living room,
but sheʼs never fully there.
She wants her momʼs attention,
becomes so used to the rejections.
She becomes afraid of affection.
She fades away.
You can see her sitting there, staring out her bedroom window,
You can see her looking for some comfort.
Give it a while,
youʼll see that sheʼs found some twisted form of it. Sheʼll have changed.
Then give it a month,
She wonʼt be sitting there.
Sheʼll be gone.
Gone forever.

Editor's Note
This is an epic submission! I’m really impressed by the determination and stamina it took this poet to create this piece. It feels like one of the great long poems of ancient times – Beowulf, or Gilgamesh, or the Iliad. Epic poetry like this was one of the earliest forms of literature, and the form was adapted and evolved by poets like Dante, Wordsworth, Whitman, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Anne Carson and many others throughout history. It became more and more about the personal, individual quest, which is what this poem addresses. The passage of time feels slow and sticky, and the bleak tone creates a powerfully oppressive atmosphere with foreshadowing of the eventual ‘fall.’ A very interesting, thought-provoking response to these strange times!
On the Author
My name’s Clare Mee and I am a fourteen-year- old writer and activist. I have had a passion for writing for as long as I can remember. I have had one publication with Waterford youth arts but so far that has been it. You’ll find me either at a protest, on a rugby pitch, writing in my bedroom or going to open mics.
I wrote this poem because I wanted to bring awareness in a way to a few issues that people face every day.
When we found out school was closing cos of the pandemic, a lot of kids were happy, this was time off of school for them but for some, they seemed almost scared.
They just didn’t want to be stuck in the houses they live in.
And I just felt that I needed to write about it.