Prompt Instructions:

1. Lines of a poem are cut apart and placed in a bowl. Each person draws a line at random and writes for 20 minutes.

2. The writings are shared with the readers reading their responses to the lines in the order in which they appear in the original poem. The whole poem is then read.

This writing was a response to a line from “Grandmother Speaks of the Old Country” by Lola Haskins. Read the whole poem at this link: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178279

The line drawn was this:      “died at their mending.  Children fell at school”

School should be a safe haven, a place for education and growth.  A place where lessons are learned and friendships blossom. School should be a time of remembrance, hard work, school trips, report cards, and open house meet and greets. The innocence of this bygone era was forever changed not many years ago in a school half way across the nation. A set of students decided one day to open fire on the institution of learning they themselves attended. What deep down problem led them to such a bizarre event that forever changed the innocence?

The attack on the school was so sudden and random everyone ran screaming in scattered directions in an effort to flee the range of fire. Fear and wide-spread panic permeated the campus as swift and violent as high tide against the shore during a horrific storm. The only difference was that high tide didn’t recede on a schedule around the moon.

Teachers and administrators tried frantically to care for the fallen students and teachers.   The chaos was too much to muster. Blood was spattered everywhere as if a paint ball contest was being held center court. The wounded grew by the minute leaving few other unskilled people to medically treat the numerous wounds. Unfortunately, before the police and EMS arrived, many died at their mending. Children fell at school. And it wasn’t the common scrape requiring Neosporin and a band-aid from the school nurse.

This was a deep penetrating wound that would never heal-a scar unlike any other.

~Monica Sleap 9/30/06

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