Carole - lucky christiansen

Mimesis of BALLAD by Wislawa Szymborska

Hear the ballad “Murdered Child
Suddenly Speaks Up at Christmas.“


It’s an honest ballad, penned
both to shock and offend.


The conversation started openly,
with decorations up, presents all wrapped;


grandchildren could stop and stare.



When the whiskey glass slammed before him
and the killer’s mouth ran on,
she stood up, sharper than her siblings,
with a suddenly lifeless guise.


She marches forward, she opens her mouth,
and she declares aloud with words
harsher than they were before.


No, she doesn’t quote statistics:
she knows the killing language,
and responds with vitriol in kind.

In that living room she burns the ties
that the killer has chained to her:
here a name, there a bloodline,
everything that she can spit out.

It’s obvious that she’s not innocent.
It’s obvious that she’s no longer gullible.
The child has been killed silently.

She could have cracked a wobbled smile,
held belief in the head seat at the dinner table,
nodded along to the repulsive musings
of an aging mind.


to have spent so much time
faking a love for her lineage.

She stood up like we should have.

She talks just as the people do.

And she is forced to shut her mouth,
which still grins.

carol (n.)
c. 1300, “joyful song,” also a kind of dance in a ring, from Old French carole “kind of dance in a ring,
round dance accompanied by singers,” a word of uncertain origin.

Scroll to Top