They Swim

They swim
poor little fish
straight through the safety nets
that would hold them
in fresh water’s flow
they are too young to vote
or weave social change
into protective boundaries

They swim
through gaping holes of greed
lacking resource and means
to bind the shredded holes of ignorance

They swim
swept downstream
to river’s brackish estuary
the salt
through osmosis
dehydrates cells

They swim
assimilating the filth
drug abuse
bulging, murderous eyes

They swim
oxygen depleted
poor little fish
belly up

They float


Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse. Bookmark the permalink.

45 thoughts on “They Swim

    1. Thank you, Steve! It was penned in part as a response to a huge uptick in suicide attempts at a local juvenile detention center since the start of the year. I think they are up to 13 attempts. Something is really wrong with how we deal with children who have nothing and are struggling. We need to give these kids a reason to swim against the current that would sweep them away.
      Have a great day, my friend!😊

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree with you, Tanya. These kids need reasons to forge ahead, to simply live with a purpose. Suicide is never an answer, but since we don’t stress moral or Godly principles very much any more, some of these kids…and more than a few adults…have no idea what awaits them when they end their own lives. It is such a sad and growing problem!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There is a move to replace juvenile detention, or “kid prison”, with alternatives that provide what these children have lacked in their lives. 50% to 75% of kids who end up in juvenile detention end up in adult prison. The suicide rates are more than 4 times their age groups in the general population. We have to find better ways of reaching and helping them. If they don’t see the value in their own lives, how can they be expected to work hard for anything meaningful?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Very well said and so true! I didn’t know the statistics you mentioned, but that is sad and needs to be addressed. We took the option of studying heavenly creation out of schools. And we keep it out in the name of separation of church and state, and/or “respect” for other religious beliefs. Now Christian teaching is on a steep decline in homes as well. I believe this has something to do with the problems we face with children and young adults today…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The reality for many of these children involves parents who are drug addicts, abusers or abused, live in poverty and so on. The problems are often multi-generational and impact children of African heritage by an almost 8 to 1 ratio compared to white children and Indigenous children by around 6 to 1, last time I checked. We have societal issues at play that stem from decisions this country made long ago. Until we address those, we will keep losing these children. Real love would require us to treat these children as if they were our own in every respect. That means we have got to start meeting their basic needs. It comes down to food and shelter, clothing and security and a safe place to learn. I say learn last, because until we meet their basic needs, they can’t meet their potential in learning. For many of these children, daily life is a battle to simply survive. They don’t choose where they are born and can’t earn their way out of it. Part of the reparation for the damage we have done in the past needs to be an investment in these children. They are our future, whether they succeed or fail. Love dictates that we do more. Have a great evening, Steve!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Very well said, Tanya, and obviously from your heart. I agree with you that we must help provide for the basic needs of food and shelter before anything else can be done. One of the saddest things in this world is a starving, homeless child. If they do survive, they will grow up into ignorance and simply repeat in that cycle, never having a chance to reach any of their potential. And you are right…love dictates that we do whatever we can to help break that cycle and provide for these children as we would our very own!

        Be well today, Tanya… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I will try to do just that, Tanya. Are you working on another movie? Anyway, it is a nice day out here today…a bit hot but due to cool by a few degrees come the weekend. Let’s see, are you two hours ahead of PST?

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Okay, thanks. Guess I could have checked Google but it was just easier to ask you about the time difference. Good to hear your next movies are expected out sometime soon! I’ll bet you are busy around there. Do you write the books, or do the proofreading and editing for them? Maybe both?

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I’ll bet it is fun. And it touches on one of your greatest loves…creativity! I’m glad you enjoy your work so much and are successful at it as well. Have a great day and weekend too, Tanya!


        Liked by 1 person

    1. It is, Wanda. We simply have to do a better job providing for children who have nothing in this world. They don’t choose the environments they are born into. We have to help them find hope and purpose in their lives. They all matter.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Absolutely…and thank you! Getting people to fight/hate each other is a powerful weapon.
    Our human chain is only as strong as its weakest links. When we allow it to break, we all pay the price. I think we sometimes pay it in things we never see too…cures for disease, beautiful art and words, music, advances in technology. Our losses aren’t always obvious ones. Investing in humans is an investment in these things. Bigotry is a vile disease…


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