A Little Boy, A Little Time

by Rhiannon Rodderick

The epitome of health, the embodiment of pain,
Running on the grass, dancing in the rain.
Teeth glistening in the sunshine, eyes sparkling in the night.
The epitome of peace, the embodiment of fright.

The epitome of joy, the embodiment of sorrow,
We knew too well, he may not be here tomorrow..
The indiscriminate virus, destroyed his body but not his soul.
The epitome of warmth, the embodiment of cold.

The epitome of strength, the embodiment of meek,
One more chance to smile is all that he would seek.
Knowing he had little time left, never would he cry,
The epitome of life, just told me he was going to die.


Finding a topic to form the basis of this creative assessment was something of a daunting task at the beginning. Having to write about a subject that involved enough scope to create around was an interesting experience, as I scanned though my minds catalogue of life memories. It wasn't hard to settle upon the topic I have chosen to base my work on, as my travels to South Africa and the impact this portion of my life had on me was irreversible.My work with orphans who were either HIV positive or indeed AIDS was both an incredible privilege and a heart-rending experience. Trying to encapsulate the thoughts and feelings that surge through your mind when you recall such a life changing experience is a challenge of the highest order, as sometimes words are not sufficient to express the diversity of emotions that a person can feel all in the same instant. I find when I write poems it's easier for me to make them rhyme, as the structure it provides gives me a framework around which I can organise my thoughts and express them as aptly as I am able. The use of contrasts in the poem was an attempt to highlight the stark contrasts that I encountered on my travels. The contrast between a symbol of life and future hope i.e. a small child, yet the reality of death and the bleak future for the inhabitants of Sub-Saharan Africa which is seen in the tragedy of the AIDS virus. It is these dipoles that I have tried to reflect in the few short lines of this poem, hopefully the reader can appreciate the feelings of helplessness and heartbreak experienced by so many in that part of our world.

Rhiannon Roderick, Whole Person Care.