Becky Mairi Farrell: Fragmented by Trauma

This story has a trigger warning

In this moving and evocative poem, Becky explores the lasting consequences of trauma.  Trigger warning: abuse/trauma

paintings of faces

I am ashamed because I ran away.
I abandoned myself.
I had to survive alone,
And yet I didn’t even have myself –
A half self
Left alone
To deal with the horrors,
Bereft of the part of me
That could process and reflect,
Find words.
I left myself in wordless silence,
Invisible to the world,
Unloved because unknown.

But it was not a choice that I made.
I never decided to be severed.
I couldn’t choose to run or fly away
On hurried feet
Or wings frantically beating.
It was the situation that severed us.
It came in from outside us
And ran us through.
I leaked out like invisible blood
As you bore the wound.

I didn’t make that wound.
You didn’t make that wound.
He made it first,
And others reopened it over and over.
The wound is not me.
The wound is not you.
It was done to us
And we flew apart in the confusion.

You couldn’t leave, earthed and physical.
You had no choice but to stay.
You worked so hard to hold us to reality
And the day to day.
Dead-eyed and dumb,
Yet so solid.

I lost my connection with you.
I ran off with the treasure
To search for a safe place for us,
A refugee on the road,
Looking for home everywhere but within.
I fled through books and stories,
Up and down the streets of imaginary worlds,
Pursued by black menace.
I fled through ideas and academics,
Distancing myself from the ragged unhealed wound,
Until theory met life
And I could not keep running.

By then we were strangers –
Hostile and wary of each other.
We set up camp
On opposite sides of the barbed wire
And dug in.
And there we remain, entrenched
On different sides of No Man’s Land.


The experiences of trauma,
The flashbacks, memories,
Fear and shame –
Are unbearable,
They seem so small
In comparison to their consequence
Of severing our souls.

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