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Unshaken is dedicated to Stephen…

Other Books by the Author;

A Child’s Journey Through Darkness

Weeping Child to Forgiving Child

A Child Interrupted

And The Child grew Up

Crushed Violets

Love Letters to Daddy

Copyright © 2017 by Donna Nieri

Table of Contents

Unshaken 6

Earthen Vessels 8

Poet in Disguise 10

Children of the Womb 13

Blind Man 16

Fishing 20

Ezekiel 16 24

A Pauper’s Grave 29

Distracted 33

Hitchhike to Heaven 35

Imagine all the Children 37

Dream Catchers 39

Leaves 42

Offender to Contender 45

Pearl of the Sea 48

Poems of Trust 52

Recriminations 55

Resting Places 56

Two Brothers 59

Mockingbird 62

The Curtain 64

Librarian 70

The Stone 75

The Visitor 79

Hunger Games 83

Little Birds 88

BDD 91

Spider’s Hotel 93


In an autumn field

I walked one day,

the breeze blew upon

the trees.

The poplar, beech and

willow, providing shade,

now their leaves in piles


But the old oak tree

stands alone, fully

dressed, quietly defying

the rest.

Not one leaf shakes, not

one branch breaks.

Acorns fall and mourn

a winter bed, to hide from the

winter chill’s dread.

Winds come from the east,

north and west, but not

one leaf would fall at best.

It is unshaken!

Standing below this majestic

tree, surveying the strength

it is to me,

I wonder if it is fulfilling

my destiny.

I, like the oak, holding

on to the old, must wait in His

time to make room for the

new. Until then I am left


Earthen Vessels

We are earthen vessels,

chards of broken clay,

lying upon the earth

for all to see, since

that good and evil tree.

Fractured minds, injured

souls, enclosed in an

earthen vessel

filled with holes.

Coffers of treasures,

not of silver and gold,

hold those chosen to unfold

the mysteries of suffering,

of this earth’s souls.

Poet in Disguise

I should be so blest,

or be put upon a shelf to rest,

at least I express my grief,

though somewhat indiscreet.

Through pen and ink, beyond

the scope of colors, tapping

upon a vastness deep, I weep.

It is not a fatal sin to

share what lies within. For

my sorrows make me ill, until

I share with others.

We are not alone.

The tears we own, have flown

through centuries.

A self-proclaimed poet is

what I am,

not worthy to walk upon

the sod of these sleeping


These comforters of the

past, now inspire me to

plod my painful path.

Please do not take my pen

and ink away, it is the

only way I can survey my


And each book I write, until

my last,

I will draw on the inkwell

of tears from my past.

Children of the Womb

Oh, children of the womb,

are you all created equal?

One a story, one a sequel?

The womb from which you


A mother looks down

with fondness and affection.

One in harshness and


One child’s fate lingers

on earth, another is

quickly taken at birth.

Some struggle, some are blest,

others receive no rest,

with a conscience pricked from

a hand too strict.

Tides ebb and flow upon

the soul, to be consoled

by something higher.

The womb has now become a

cross. All things on this

earth are loss.

The child comes forth with

faith unshaken, her wounds

soon taken.

But for the insult

and injury she has received,

she would have remained on

earth in misery.

This is a mystery!

Blind Man

He cannot see beyond

the starless canopy.

No light of day,

all is black and grey.

Blackness shuts the gate

with bars before his


Children ridicule and tease,

“Blindness is

from sin in him,” but these

cruel ones are deceived.

As he grows older, he is

not daunted from the


Waking to aroma of

bread baking on bricks,

he gropes for

his walking stick.

Intuitively crosses the

floor to the door,

then walks down

the road as always before,

to sit by the gate, begging for

coins to alleviate his


A hope burns in his heart of

faith, that he will see the

light of a face.

A Man passes by and

sees his hurt, he spits

in the dirt and with the

mud touches his eyes.

Before him is light,

colors rise at

every turn. Falling to

the ground, his eyes are

covered with trembling


Then the bands are

broken, as he stands.

Slowly spreading his

fingers before his gaze,

with leaps of joy he utters


Those witnessing ask, “Who gave

you sight,” he replies “The Man,

once I was blind, now I

see light!”


In the early dawn of the

morning hours,

a ship scours an angry

sea of thoughts.

Troweling on the deep,

a fisherman holds the

line, while a thought

is caught.

A larger one than

anyone sought rises to

the top.

The battle begins as the

war is fought. Three more

knots added to the speed

of the ship, but it is all

for naught. Leaving the

fisherman distraught.

Above the commotion a

voice is heard.

“Push her down” and an

answer says, “How far down?”

“As far as

the thoughts are buried.”

“Hurry, cast a line and

reel it in with all your


“But it is too big,

and my mind too small,

how can I let go, I

am sinking?”

With a body that is weak,

with all my strength,

pulling and striking,

falling on my knees,

every muscle, bone and

grandiose groan has hit

the bottom.

A voice is heard “Leave

them alone, for they will

only harm you.”

The fisherman, no longer

distraught, releases his

thoughts into the depths

of the sea.

Micah 7:19 Cast all our

“thoughts” into the depths of

the sea.

Ezekiel 16

A voice is heard in a

desolate land -

“Oh Ezekiel, what do

you have to say of this

man, one that is searching

for a child among rocks,

stones and burning sand?”

There is a desert,

under a blazing sky,

where serpents lie.

Cacti hide a tiny

wren, it’s wings

singed from

the midday sun, never

flying as high again.

All is still, but for the

horse and its rider,

moving faster, as it’s

hooves pound the clay

baked ground.

In the first part of

his journey, no child

was found and

in disappointment, turns

his horse around,

with an empty heart and

far from blest, even

though he did his best.

He could not remove

the picture from his

mind and returned to

the desert one more

time. Searching far

and near, a cry in the

distance spurs him on.

Pulling the brim of

his hat to shade his eyes,

looking on the desert floor,

in a pool of blood, in a

pocket of sand, he hears a

child’s cry again.

Lifting this baby to

his saddle side, with

his hands it’s tears

he dries.

Cleansing with water and

oil, removing clothes dirty

and soiled. With newness

of life the child arises.

It is given a name,

no longer living in shame.

The desert is turned

to a river bed. The wren

fly’s high again.

Living waters flow upon

the earth. He bids

the child live in a land with

no more dread,

playing among the reeds

on the rivers

edge. No danger will come

from the adder’s den.

There is no more sin.

All things are new

because of

this Man’s redemption plan!

Inspired by Ezekiel chapter 16

A Pauper’s Grave

On the north side of the

graveyard lot,

lies a pauper’s plot,

saved for the indigent

and lost.

Only green moss grows on

this spot, where the sun

is naught.

The crow flies high in

the eastern sky and the

sparrow sits on her nest

in the tree top high.

A creek flows below

and the grave rests on

a knoll.

To the left

of this plot a man hoes

and digs for the next

coffer’s hole.

Not a flower lays upon the

mound nor sound of song

is sung.

He sleeps hard and long

till the final day when

he is taken away.

On the east side of the

lot a church

steeple shines it’s

light, driving the shadows

away both day and night,

on the pauper’s plot, where

he lay in a grave he had not


(My mother insisted on being buried

in a pauper’s plot

and of course we did not)


Pardon me for not listening

to what you say.

For you see, my mind is on

other things a million

miles away.

I don’t live in today,

there is a delay, a

hesitation to respond,

a filter in my

brain goes round and

round, repeating sounds.

It pretends to send the

message, but it is not

quite sure what to do.

It was stolen long

ago, too young to understand

and put on hold

Hitchhike to Heaven

It is a difficult road

I have taken,

my load is heavy and

I am forsaken,

along this road to heaven.

Preachers, teachers, friends,

I look to all of them to

help me get in.

Holding my thumb up high,

hoping for a ride, they

wish me well and pass me by.

I don’t know how long I

can do this. I cry, I weep,

all the rules I keep.

I run and run, busy,

busy, barely taking a

breath, lest I falter and

be left.

Every day I confess,

what more can I do?

Throwing up my hands, I quit.

There is nothing I can do,

it is a gift!

Imagine all the Children

Amongst a world of hate,

it seems there is no heaven,

that all there is hell.

Everywhere is sorrow, with

no place to dwell. The enemy

stalks the street, for

the hopeless and the weak.

Imagine all the people,

No longer filled with hate,

united with their children,

delivered from their fate.

A world without a frown,

silence in the air, the

only sound is prayer.

They are united hand and

hand, as they

cross the land together,

filled with love and peace.

as all turmoil and violence


Dream Catchers

There lies in the

shadows a peaceful


a boat carries someone

in a unsettled dream.

With the lap of the oars,

never to find a shore.

Beyond the placid lake is

a river scene, where dreams

flow to the ocean streams.

Stars and moon draw upon the

tides, as high as our hopes


With pearly fingers turning

pages of the past, messages

are sent to my troubled self.

But then who can remember

dreams as we slumber, somber

dreams that encumber our


Dream catchers fly in

the vastness of the sky,

traveling as they unravel

the dreams held in our


Only when the door is open,

will the words be spoken,

to release these painful



It happened while I was


only yesterday

the branches were bare. Now

an explosion of birth,

a feud between leaves

and air.

Whirling and spinning

of branches and trees

pushing the air aside.

A million leaves latch,

teasing, reaching


In the hollow of the tree

the bluebird builds her

nest. Now she finds no

place to rest.

A worm comes out to play,

and when he sees these

leaves he quickly runs


The flowers nod their heads

and grin, as the sun sifts

through the shade, not

knowing where to begin.

And all this was going

on without me!

Offender to Contender

Sitting on the stool of

despondency, reviewing

my afflictions, I am

stricken with a thought,

but for the cruelties*

of my offenders, I

would not seek something

better. I would not be the

person I have become.

But how do I let

go of something so cruel?

My wounds are all I have


How do I close the door

to these thoughts of

unforgiveness. To rectify

their acts as evil, unable

to bear?

I try and try again, only to

fall upon my knees in despair.

Oh please, what can I do to

release this drumming of the

past. Of myself, I cannot.

I look to Another, that I may

forgive and be free at last.

  • Romans 8:18

Pearl of the Sea

Mist and fog lift

from the surface

of the blue,

across the sea,

gentle breezes drift,

light streams through.

Scattered on the

ocean floor, shells

open their

alabaster doors.

Where once all was

serene, the

music of the waters now

ring with a solemn song

they sing.

Suddenly there is a

feud in the ocean

of the deep, unlike any

ever seen.

Winds swirl upon the

waves, increasing in


lifting the sea, then

swings back and forth

and side to side.

Seagulls cry in a multitude

of tongues, screeching

as the ocean mourns.

A silent watcher sees

the sand become a

threshing floor, as the

shell closes it’s door.

The chafing of the sea

creates an injury,

washing the shell

upon the shore.

What now seems

cruel, little does it

know, this dual

is giving birth

to a precious jewel.

After untold time and

countless years, the

wound brings forth a

lustrous pearl,

that would never have

been, but for the injury

it bore!

Poems of Trust

Oh criticize me not,

for little do you know

how much I have sought,

to believe, trust and

even to implore,

this gift I would have


Poems of Trust

By human means I have done

all I could. I told myself

“trust I must.”

And the more I tried, it

eluded me. I am powerless

to create this, if I could

I would,

It is a gift you see!


And he said, “What would you


“A little bird, I said,”

But then he said “no” and I

was denied.

My soul would feel free I

thought, if only I could

have a little bird, and I

could with it learn to fly,

to places far away and leave

my thoughts behind. To soar

the heavens so high.


It is a fallacy to discern,

that God’s love can be earned,

for those who do, their hearts

still yearn.

I don’t do life very well,

but I do it as well as I can.

I marvel at those who always

seem to have a plan.


Is this what I should

have done and done it


The bickering of my

soul is more than I

can hold.

Once is never enough,

all these lessons are

really tough.

In my mind there is

constant drilling,

filling it with holes,

until it becomes a

sieve, with no more

room to give.

Resting Places

Pressing on with hope,

that what I cannot

see, will one day

come to be.

In my youth, I had

striven to excel in

all things given.

In after years I was

slowly driven.

All things in the past

forgiven, resting

places have arisen.

The magic number seven,

opens the door of heaven,

a busy week of six,

one day given for rest,

that all may be blest.

This is new to be here,

I knew not I would

rest here, things

seem so clear here.

Laurel and the rose

with poppies I behold.

Before I had not presence

of mind to see the beauty

they hold.

The briar and the thorn

no longer exist, giving

way the pricks to one

eternal thought, preexisting


Prone to share this heavenly

splendor, I seek one like

I, to ever press on together.

Two Brothers

There comes a part in

the closure of day,

when the evening brings

repose to the weary

and mirth to the gay.

A story of two little

boys, of the same kin,

no one knows what

happened to them, or

where to begin.

So allow this be

told and the reader

know, the story of

the children could be

tenfold told.

A local tavern in the

village square, brings

vintage wine among other


Beer flows, laughter

sings, bringing about

joy to father and boys.

Becoming drunk, he is

angry and mean. They

don’t understand and

become sullen and sad.

They are grown now,

father is gone, they

still go to the bar,

not knowing it is wrong.

One has a drink, that

is enough. The other boy

sits on the stool, long

into the night.

I often wonder, why was one

lost to alcohol and one was


In memory of my Father and



The hummingbird has it’s


The dove it’s coo,

The robin it’s song,

but the Mockingbird has


He sits in his nest,

talking all day and night,

copying everything in


Sometimes in a frenzy

sometimes gently,

it never gets tired of its

words so lengthy.

His throat quivers and

shakes, but of a song it

is empty.

One day his nest is covered

with dew, fog descends and

the sun withdrew and the

darkness spread, as the

Mockingbird sits in the

nest with a word not said.

It lost its noise, but it

found it’s voice.

The sky is flooded with

light, a song swells with a

thrill. Spreading it’s wings

for the flight, leaving

behind it’s nest, to join the

songs of the rest.

The Curtain

Is it a dream, it seems

like a dream? Waking

with a start I know it

is not.

Opening my eyes,

I am ashamed, no one

would I claim to

share this illness with,

how it came about, I

could not explain.

Searching for an answer to a

troubled mind, no peace do

I find.

A place where no one would

venture, no one could

acclaim to help, if so they

would be like friends of Job.

Reaching for my robe,

with throbbing pain and rapid

pulse in my head, trying to stand

by my bed,

a brittle soul about to break.

Slumber I once more


There is a stirring as I awake.

I say a prayer, “my soul to take.”

Crispness of sheets brush

against my skin,

a fever begins and my body

seems to melt, sheets now wet

with the trickle of sweat.

Beginning to thirst

and bereft of water, I

become hotter, beginning

to falter.

The hopeful anecdote to my

illness has provoked it

instead. Another potion

has created more mental


The walls seem empty as

I stare in space,

searching for anything

to break the dreariness

of this place.

On the left hangs a picture,

dismal and grey, to the

right a window, dressed

in lavender and white,

hanging from a silver rod,

could it be a gift from God?

I must see it better, slowly

lifting my head from

the bed, moving my legs to

the floor,

reaching for the wall with

trembling hands,

I pull the curtain to my

side, as I cry, this piece

of cloth I wish to hang

above my head.

As I try, my arms are not

high enough, my hammer and

nails strong enough, my

measure true enough.

I sit in the

midst of failure and quit.

In my brokenness, something

greater than I draws the

curtain aside and with

His rod accurate and right,

drapes His banner of love

over me in peace and light.


This is a strange

vault for a library,

holding and unfolding

histories and mysteries.

A consciousness,

dealing with realities,

trying to appease

maladies and formalities.

Silence within, but

for the weeping of

portraits from the

family tree.

The librarian is

dressed in black,

hair sleeked back,

spectacles enlarge

her eyes. A ruler

is used to prove her


Words glare, people


She is very stern and

makes sure these

books of memories

are learned.

Shelves of

books look down upon

this child, in a sea of words,

memories are stirred.

She is little, she is small,

latched to a tall ladder day

and night with no

relief in sight.

Too young to know

what matters, just

following her

instruction, barely

able to function.

Not understanding

these torn pages that are

worn with time,

from many fingers leafing

through stories recorded

of all ages.

She can barely reach the

lowest shelf

recording the story of

herself. The

twelfth shelf she must

reach in time.

Growing a little older,

with an inquisitive eye,

another rung is added,

another shelf is saddened.

There is succession of speed,

as wheels begin to turn across

the floor, the ladder reaches

to the top, before it stops.

The child flees in terror,

to the basement of this

keeper of life events

and is lulled to

sleep. Consciousness

turned to unconsciousness.

It is apparent the child

has become transparent!

The Stone

The stone in my shoe

is small,

hardly noticeable at all,

how it got there no one


Over time it grew and

broke in two.

I hadn’t a clue what

to do. I even tried

cement and glue.

Maybe if I got another

pair of shoes that

would do.

I fret, fuss and

question. I can’t make

a decision.

My morals are scary,

for the words I say

I am very sorry.

The smooth stones become

sharp, causing pain. I

wonder if I am sane.

I have doubts called


They call it a tender

conscience. An

encumbrance of the mind.

My head is full of

numbers and words and

records what it has heard.

The scruples don’t

go away but over time they

are reduced to a manageable

size. I am helped to

remember they are lies.

It makes it doable and

though it is uncomfortable,

it is better now and one day


The Visitor

A candle in the

window burns in the eve,

as I knock faintly then

turn to leave.

The handle begins to

turn, and a voice invites

me in, then

guides me through a

hallway, dark and grey.

There are pictures on the wall,

almost as if they are of me,

from a small child to a girl,

who is now grown and tall.

Another door before me

opens slowly, as I peer in,

there is a room so grand with

an hourglass of passing sand.

A chair sits in the middle

and I take a seat.

There are some little ones,

I ask them come near that we

may meet.

Marching by, they are forlorn,

with garments ripped and torn,

each bearing a pail of memories.

Looking at them I realize they

are part of me.

I give them love,

wash their faces and clean

their shoes, but these things

are not enough and will not do


They respond -

“Please, we are tired and would

find peace and rest. Letting

go of your anxious thoughts

would be best.”

I now see, these children I

have ignored, have been with

me through life’s tests.

Now it is time, as they ask, to

let them rest.

Hunger Games

I am hungry, empty

and weary, as my

sugar lows descend

to my toes.

Starving, I rush

into the store, buying

a bag of chips, never

mind the dip. Just let

these morsels pass

between my lips.

Back in the car I

attempt to rip it open.

Pulling, tugging,

gripping, finally biting

with my teeth.

I take my lethal weapon,

car keys, pleading,

punching, until I am


My pallet savors food,

however it comes, steamed,

baked, stewed or even


Faint and dizzy, no wonder

I’m so skinny. This game

is almost too much, as I

fling it on the

floor in frustration, saying

a prayer and try once more.

Why do they have to shrink

wrap our food? That one

must carve with scissors

and knives to break the

seal just to make a meal?

Lids are screwed so tight,

while salivary glands

anticipate at long last

a bite. We twist and turn

almost breaking

our wrist, finally

bang with a few words of


Well, forget the food. How

many have bought a blanket

or sheets? We rip and tear,

how did they get it in there?

You don’t dare open

it if you need to take it

back. Who could ever stuff

it in those empty

plastic sacks.

All in all, the games they

play on society just

complicate life even more.

Oh, if we could just stay

out of those scary stores!

Little Birds

In the window hung a sign

“Birds For Sale”

A little bird flew by,

“why are they so pretty and

I so drab and dull?”

“I would like a home”

he said.

As he pecks upon the

window – “let me in he plead”.

They laugh, “We would

be happy to be free like

you.” And ignored his


He pecked on the window,

sliding down, falling to

the ground, shaking off

his feather vest,

looking his very best, he

tried once more and

failed the test.

Forgetting his plight,

eating a few crumbs to

strengthen his flight,

he looked up as he flew,

the sky is his dome, trees

his perch,

he pays no rent and

is content.

The birds he wished to join

will always be confined.

But he always free!


Mirror, mirror on the wall,

stand up straight and tall,

but Mommy dear, can’t you

see why I slump? With all

this brawl, I’m in a frump.

I don’t like myself very much.

I tried all kinds of things,


high heel shoes and such.

My hair is too thin, and I am too

skinny. These miniskirts are awful

tiny. And I feel silly in a bikini,

it doesn’t fit my extremities.

My stature is too short or too

tall. None of this makes sense

at all.

All in all, I just can’t seem to

get over this. But I just found

out there is a name -

Body Dysmorphic Disorder!

Hopefully, I will find my appearance

acceptable, now that I know from

where it came.

Spider’s Hotel

Every year they pack

their bags with their

spinning wheels,

to spend the summer in


built on a juniper

bush, where green fern

and monkey flowers grow,

and the wind doesn’t blow.

Gardens hang from balconies

high in the air, as they sit

in their chairs,

spinning away as their

babies play.

They are proud of their

bungalows and feel like

the elite. Their suites

are the best.

The other spiders are

late and stay as guests

on the bottom floor.

Swinging on a web to visit

friends next door.

In the evening they gather

together to share their

tales and play their

fiddles on bended knees,

to eat Juniper berry pie

and watch the dance

of the fireflies.

The little spiders sang

and played as

the yellow moon rose, and

with a yawn their

eyelids closed.

The season flew by as they

busily spun, a spiders work

is never done.

The rainy season came, they

packed their bags, saying

goodbye – but they

will be back next year

to stay at the Juniper Hotel!



A collection of poetic memoirs sharing how abuse victims can forgive the offenders in their childhood abuse experiences. How forgiveness and acceptance releases the heavy burden carried through a lifetime of guilt and shame. The author shares these memoirs that helped her become "Unshaken".

  • ISBN: 9781370509836
  • Author: Donna Nieri
  • Published: 2017-07-25 15:50:21
  • Words: 4486
Unshaken Unshaken