Books, Literature, and Writing
A Poem About Children and Nature vs. Nurture – Anatomy of a Wasted Life
Updated on October 3, 2014 Kristen Burns-Darling moreContact Author An innocent babe
Born into a brutal world
Carrying the weight of his father sin.
Only a baby, only a child,
Reaping the sorrows of alcohol and addiction.
He knows no other way,
He knows no other life,
He was born an innocent
Caught in the web of suffering and strife
Learning it early.
Learning it fast.
By the roll of the dice
His fate seems to be cast.
Potentially a thug.
What will become of this child,
Who doesn know a father love?
Going to school
In this alien world
Where all the other children dream.
Bright new colors make life not as gray as it seems.
He sees a different way,
He sees a different life,
He is confused by the brightness
Caught between shadow and light.
Learning to see.
Learning to feel.
Trying to differentiate
Between what is and is not real
Potentially a saint.
Potentially a sinner.
In the battle of good versus evil
Who will be the winner?
A baby grows fast
From toddler to child
Home is defined by tension, anger, and violence.
Only a child, only a boy,
Mastering the art of being invisible and silent.
He hears only angry sounds,
He hears no promises of a better life.
He cowers in the darkness
From the sounds of a man beating on his wife
Learning how to listen
Learning how to hear
He hates the deafening noise of rage
Caught always in the web of anticipation and fear.
Potentially an abuser.
Is it nature or is it nurture
That turns a winner into a loser?
A child is growing
At the speed that all boys do
Colliding full force with the outside world.
With a swirling vortex of temptation, cars and girls.
Searching for an identity.
Searching for himself.
He stands undecided at the cross-road
Caught between what could be, and a childhood spent in Hell.
Potentially a scholar
Potentially a thief
Does a single moment decide for a lifetime
Between happiness and grief?
A teenage boy on his own
With no role model or guide
Can be so easily forever lost.
Everything he might have been the only collateral cost.
Desiring a different path
Desiring to be free
He is afraid to turn either left or right
Caught frozen in the middle of who he will or will not be.
Potentially a genius
Potentially a criminal
When choosing to do nothing at all
Will the damage remain minimal?
An adolescent boy
Standing on the brink of life
In a world he just doesn understand
Not a child, not a man,
He is looking for guidance, a symbol, a sign; he is looking for a plan.
Teetering between action and indecision
Caught falling by the very demons all of his life he has fought.
Potentially a leader
Potentially a felon
When desperate for acceptance
Do gangsters become brethren?
A young man
Living out in a brutal world
Carrying the weight of his own sin
He has stumbled and fallen learned to be accountable for his actions
He wants a different path
He wants a different life
So it is hard to understand exactly what he was thinking
Why he was carrying that knife.
Potentially a murderer
Potentially a victim
When you don know the facts
It is something hard to fathom.
A young man in a jail cell
Not yet twenty-five years old
Took another human life, for reasons all his own
Only human, only a man
Did he do it for love, power, money or fame? Only to him is the reason known
He wishes it hadn happened
He wishes to take it back
But the bloodstains on his shirt and hands
Crimson proof of an undeniable fact
With the lack of potential
For a wasted life.
About This Poem
If every human being is born with the potential to be either saint or sinner, what is it that tips the scale for some, and not for others? Can one moment in time determine the outcome? Can someone born into abuse and addiction find their way out, or are they doomed to repeat the cycle? This poem asks the age old question, nature or nurture?
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sendingAuthorKristen Burns-Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California
@IntegrityYes – Thank you for the gift of your time, and for the vote, they are both welcomed and deeply appreciated!
IntegrityYes 5 years ago
I voted up for sure.
@Sharyn’s Slant – You are right, no matter what our circumstances we are ultimately we are responsible for our own choices…Thank you as always for the generosity of your time, and for your comments and your support, they are all welcomed and deeply appreciated.
Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA
Excellent work here K. Very thought provoking. Definitely reminds me of someone I knew. Ultimately, we have a choice of what path to take no matter what our history teaches us.
I enjoy your work always!
AuthorKristen Burns-Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California
@Blessed53 – Yes, it is unfortunately a true story. It is the story of someone whom my family and I both know, who was born into this life, but truly has a good heart, and has struggled his whole life to find a way out, and whom my family has often offered a safe haven and morale support too, and who recently just made some bad choices, that put him in the wrong place and landed him exactly where he didn’t ever want to be. It is truly a heart-breaking tale. Thank you so much for the generosity of your time, and for your comments, they are always welcome and deeply appreciated.
Blessed53 5 years ago from Dalton, Georgia
I was wondering all the way through if this were a true story. It could have been my story and should have been but for the grace of God! I’m still living with some of the effects of an addicted/abusive childhood, but thank God He is with me and kept me alive and from killing another as a witness for Him. My last Hub touches on this struggle. More will be revealed, but this was an awesome reminder for me of where I might have ended up. So sad, but so true more and more so today as our culture reaps the ravaging effects of the epidemic proportions of drugs in our society today and the left-overs of our parents’ generations. So sorry this didn’t make the competition!
God bless the poor man society let down and his victims!
Always, in all ways, to God the honor and glory!
@homesteadbound – It is true that the odds against children of abusive alcholic/addict homes are most definietly at higher risk, it is just as true that children who are privliged and from loving homes sometimes inexplicabley go down the same road, while children from these situations, turn it around and like you yourself, go on to have amazingly normal lives.
Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas
Even though this was written about a boy, I was beside him feeling the pain in my childhood brought on by an alcoholic father. Your words rang so true. I was able to pull out of my destiny, but my sister both continued his destructive behavior in their lives. It is so sad. This was a great poem that lays out the path so well.
@smbunlimited – I fear that I am the one who is unworthy, and am humbled by your gracious praise. Thank your for the generosity of your time, your comments, and your support, all are welcomed and appreciated.
smbunlimited 6 years ago from Washington
WOW!! Awesome work–I am not worthy!! I definitely felt this one!
@Trinity M – This piece arose from the true story of someone that I and my family actually know who grew up in this type of a situation, and desired, very much so, to not end up as a statistic, and in the end, got himself into the kind of trouble that he truly was trying to avoid. It is very sad, and when I found out what had happened, I hugged my son too….They can so easily be lost….Thank you so very much for the generosity of your time, your gracious comments,and your well wishes, they are always welcome and appreciated!
Trinity M 6 years ago
Wow Kristen, very moving. Made me go and give my 6 year old son another hug. Voted up! BTW, Good luck with the competition.
@always exploring – It is true that without love or guidance the potential for a decent life is lessened, and yet, as poohgranma pointed out, many have been born into similar circumstance and made it through to become wonderful humanitarians, while just as many, have been blessed with all of the necessary tools, and still come up lacking…. I just don’t know if we will ever fully understand the human condition… Thank you so much for your gracious comments, they are so deeply appreciated!
Beautifully written..Cold reality from birth to adulthood, if love and guidance is lacking, the child is lost..Thank you..
@b.Malin – I thank you from my heart my friend for your time, and for the gracious comments that you leave, they are always deeply appreciated!
@Poohgranma – Funny you should mention that…. I wrote this piece a couple of weeks ago and was “saving” it as my first entry for the Patron of the Arts Contest….Was so excited this morning about the contest that I jumped the gun a bit! Am working up several pieces for the contest and so all will work out. It is a sad and stark reality, and I fear that although I have posed many questions in this piece as to how one reaches such a place, I am no closer to any real answers… Thank you as always my dear friend for the generosity of your comments and your unwavering support, they are both deeply appreciated! Many hugs!
@Movie Master – Thank you for your generous comments and the compliment, it was one of the last pictures taken of me and my dad together, and I like it very much. I picked the title, I think before or as I was writing the poem….I believe it was a result of my thinking about how it would take a certain body of time and circumstance to push a person in that direction….Thanks again for the generosity of your time, as always, it is appreciated and welcomed.
@jami l.pereira – Thank you for the generosity of your comments and for your time, both are welcome and appreciated.
b. Malin 6 years ago
A Big sigh for this Horrific Pome …did he ever stand a chance…So Sad, so Predictable, but wishing it were not. So well written from the heart and from the soul…Wow, K. Burns…Wow. A Vote UP for this one.
Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom
A perfect title to an amazing poem, voting up.
Your new profile picture with your father is beautiful.
My best wishes to you MM
Poohgranma 6 years ago from On the edge
But for a few hours this would have been entered and a sure winner of the November contest. This is as fine as anything I have read in a long time and the message is one that tells the absolute truth. It can go either way – nature or nurture? I have seen, as we all have, those brought up in the worst of homes become wonderful caring adults and those who seemed to have it all, turn to lives that cause unspeakable heartache and pain to all who they come into contaact with.
Very insightful, hard hitting winner here!
jami l. pereira 6 years ago
Wow! amazing write ! i voted up all the way across the board ! except funny , of course.Bravo! thanks for the read!:)
AuthorKristen Burns-Darling 6 years ago from Orange County, California
@saddlerider1 – Many thanks to you my dear friend for the generosity of your compliments. It is such a sad and tragic situation, and unfortunately it is a true one as well. I actually wrote this about someone I knew….His life was a series of tragedies, and although I, and many others, knew his desire to get away from it all and live a different life, even with our support, he somehow managed to get himself right back to where he started out…… Very sad indeed. I am very happy that you managed to “get out” and that as a result, I and the world have been blessed with your beautiful gift of poetry! Thanks again!
saddlerider1 6 years ago
The imagery was stark, I don’t wish this upon any young man. I lived this and felt every word you wrote. I knew the pain, anger, abuse, hell and the whole nine yards. I hope many read this brilliant piece. I rate it High Up, awesome and beautiful. You did a great job on the subject. May all boys, teens find a way, a better way. I was lucky, I found my mentor and eventually he became my Muse.