Secret Spaces


The cool of green shade

steps to a secret place

locked doors of a shed

the innocence of childhood lost

in a matter of minutes

and no one knew

for years and years and years

dare break the silence even now

Grandpa did a naughty

and it remained

forgotten for years

until you shared your story

of what happened to you

there were other times

of lesser evil

but sketched in memory

enough to sting

even now

so many decades later

I have forgiven

but no longer forgotten

from so early in life

I adored him

the trust

etched deep wounds

though the misdemeanors minor

by most standards

just enough to give pause

if I see a secret place

all too inviting

for the sins


a forbidden intimacy

just enough to

add guilt and shame and fear

where they do not belong

inside me

in stillness

in the shade

30 responses

  1. Ellen, it’s really overwhelming what you write. I’m glad you could forgive him even though this seems to be etched on your soul. That’s something he should have known that you have to bear the consequences all your life long. I hope you have a nice day, will write soon, tomorrow is my birthday. Warmest regards Mitza


    June 24, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    • Thanks for writing. Hope I didn’t overwhelm readers too much. It just popped out. Hope you have a great day today but especially tomorrow!!! Happy, happy birthday! Warmly, Ellen


      June 24, 2014 at 12:28 PM

  2. Genie

    It’s sad how molesting/raping a child is seen as ‘naughty’ in this sick society: it’s a crime, a far cry from ‘naughty’.


    June 24, 2014 at 11:53 AM

  3. I guess I still feel somehow it is my fault though I was so little. Hard to say “crime” when it is your own beloved grandfather. But a crime it is!


    June 24, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    • a crime it is…and no amount of forgiveness or compassion can erase that…living with it is hard and you are my hero!!


      June 24, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      • You sound like you know what it is like, Arjun. You send so kind a comment. Have heard far, far worse stories than what happened to me. But I thank you, dear friend!


        June 24, 2014 at 2:38 PM

      • P.S. Did you happen ever to see the films, “Angels and Insects” or “Monsoon Wedding”? I ask because I know you love film and seem to have studied movies. They both treat the topic of incest.

        On Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 2:38 PM, Ellen Stockdale Wolfe wrote:

        > You sound like you know what it is like, Arjun. You send so kind a > comment. Have heard far, far worse stories than what happened to me. But > I thank you, dear friend! > >


        June 25, 2014 at 9:00 AM

  4. Haunting. Beautiful and harrowing. Sad. Poem of innocence irretrievably lost. Thank you.


    June 24, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    • Thank YOU, Kitt, for reading and commenting. Much appreciated.


      June 25, 2014 at 9:02 AM

      • You are welcome. It’s my pleasure. You work is beautiful.


        June 25, 2014 at 12:32 PM

  5. Honesty can do treemendous things with words and geometry.
    “Behind closed doors…” Good write, Ellen! 🙂 Peace, Keith


    June 24, 2014 at 8:23 PM

  6. Thanks so much, Keith. And peace to you as well!


    June 25, 2014 at 8:56 AM

  7. Really powerful and haunting, Ellen. I think Kitt already said haunting, but that is what comes to mind. My heart goes out to you. Such a scary and confusing moment, to have self and world suddenly transformed, to find oneself unexpectedly on shaky ground. These moments propel us towards the deepest questions there are…



    June 26, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    • Thank you, dear Michael, for such a heartfelt comment. It was long ago and far away but every now and then a trigger. My case was mild. I know of far, far worse– but it is never good. Thank you again. Blessings, Ellen


      June 26, 2014 at 8:17 PM

  8. Ellen, you are wise not to forget–and wiser still to forgive. Forgiveness blesses the forgiver. You don’t deserve to be poisoned by an unforgiving spirit–good on you. Please remember that it’s normal for a child to feel shame for something that is NOT the child’s fault. The adult abuser carries ALL the blame. You were the innocent one who was betrayed. The guilt lies elsewhere.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀


    June 28, 2014 at 11:15 PM

    • Dear Wendy,

      Thank you so very much for your most caring response. Yes, you’re right and kind to point out the most important thing to remember– the adult is the guilty one! Thanks so much for your astute input! Blessings to you, Ellen


      June 29, 2014 at 10:25 AM

  9. sf

    I too had been sexually abused by an adult I had trusted. He was one of my Dad’s friends and with whom I had lived with for quite some time, that many folks thought that I was one of his daughters. Although I was young also (under 10 yrs old, 7 or 8), I knew that I was frightened and there was nothing I could do about it. You are certainly one who has triumphed and may God continue to bless you as you help others by sharing your own story here.

    What a poem! Often, I can’t really understand poems. But yours here, is so clearly written, it’s almost like a time travel story taking us right into the past to where you were.


    July 6, 2014 at 1:48 AM

    • I am so sorry for your experience and so glad you stopped by to read my poem. Glad you found it straight forward. May God bless you with healing and thank you so very much for your encouraging response!


      July 8, 2014 at 12:19 PM

  10. impressive and emotional… ❤ courage, peace and serenity… my very best and respectful regards, Mélanie

    I'm gonna be direct and blunt: I'm against death penalty with one exception: kid & adult abusers, no circumstances, no mercy, no forgiveness: they're worse than cold blood criminals as they kill souls!!! 😦


    July 6, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    • Thank you, Melanie, for your supportive comment. I don’t quite agree about the death penalty but do believe abusers should be punished quite stiffly. Thanks for reading. Respectfully yours, Ellen


      July 6, 2014 at 4:41 PM

  11. That is powerful use of words. Not too much at all – but packs a wallop. First visit to your blog, and rather blown away. You say it all. The shame you feel isn’t your fault, and many can’t understand why you would even feel it. Words like these can help them understand, and stop applying minimal words like naughty. Thanks for your openness.


    July 7, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    • Thank you so much for reading and visiting. Most of my posts are not that dramatic. You show much empathy for what I was writing about and I so appreciate your comment!!


      July 8, 2014 at 12:17 PM

  12. poignant, cathartic, and honest. thanks for sharing.


    July 13, 2014 at 4:27 PM

  13. Oh! This is so painful! I can’t even begin to imagine your pain or what you must have gone through. I stand humbled at your courage and the beauty that you’ve still retained despite the evil you have experienced. I salute you. Thank you for sharing.


    July 14, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    • Thank you for your empathic response! It was long ago and far away in my life. It was a mild form of abuse but abuse sure as anything. But my grandfather also gave me lots of good, unsexual love– well hard to know but I loved him very much despite all.


      July 15, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      • You are amazing! Finding a silver lining despite everything – truly an inspiration!


        July 16, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      • Awww. Nice of you to say. But my husband would really laugh if he read your comment as I tend toward pessimism. But thank you. God bless you!


        July 16, 2014 at 9:29 PM

  14. Very powerful, and scary too. You capture a reality too many suffer from and it’s so good you can talk about it and make it known. Things like this can only survive in secrecy and you’re helping to uncover it. Good for you!


    July 31, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    • It is cathartic to write about it. Thanks for your support, Ellen


      July 31, 2014 at 6:44 PM

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