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Tragedy Strikes When Compromises Cannot Be Reached: A Narrative Poem


Have you ever been in a situation where you needed that little bit of flexibility or help very much, but were refused? Sometimes, the lack of that flexibility can cause disastrous consequences. In this case, it really is ironic.


Steve, a good lad, came home one day,

Said he would rather study - did not go out to play

Ignored the screeching screams of his brothers and sisters

Put his nose to the books, writing till his hands got blisters.

At dinner, Steve asked his dad, with ill-ease

“Could I have money to buy some books please?”

Slamming his newspaper on the table with a grunt, his dad said

“Didn’t I just pay for some books, you runt?” -


For Steve’s dad was the family’s sole bread winner

Made a thousand dollars a month - just enough for dinner

Just covered utilities, the phone bill and money for dresses -

His dad had no more for other expenses.

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But seeing the boy’s discomfited reaction,

Dad had no choice but to give some satisfaction

“There’s a financial aid scheme in your school you could try -

What do you have to lose, why don’t you apply?”


Steve took his application, filling it with glee

Made up his mind to go to school with his plea

His teacher brought it to the Head- a lady of grace

Stiff and prim, with expressionless face.

She looked at his form, tore, threw it in the air,

She gave Steve’s teacher the sternest glare

“He makes a thousand dollars, too much money you see;

$999 and lower for us to agree.”


So it was, the unwelcoming nasty decision,

Made with too much haste, cutting precision

Bankruptcy was soon declared

After money was given in books by his dad.

One fine day, Steve opened the door to Dan,

Who, with gusto, grabbed his mother’s hand

The two made a start for his fancy limousine,

And went away, never to be seen.


Matilda : Miss Trunchbull - pigtail scene

Steve’s dad was desperate, broken, sunk

Started coming home, roaring drunk.

Began beating his children at whim

Face harbored no happiness, was ghastly and grim.

Steve’s guilty heart could not be assuaged

His need for books caused his father’s rampage

He made up his mind, he was better off dead -

Deadly decision made, put a bullet to his head.


At Steve’s funeral, his father cried

Like all parents would - “Why did my son die?”

The school’s head came, as a matter of routine

To show care and concern for the folk of the teen.

In her hand, an envelope, ready to aid

Money for expenses, bills and needs

Steve’s father looked up, gave her a blank stare

That said “How nice it is that you really care.”

Copyright (C) by Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin


Other poems by Michelle Liew (midget 38)



Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on September 17, 2012:

Lots, Ann. There are theses cases that slip through the cracks. Thanks for coming by!

Ann1Az2 from Orange, Texas on September 17, 2012:

What a sad twist at the end. Well done, midget! I wonder how much of this really goes on?

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on September 16, 2012:

Hello, Rema, thanks for coming by! It's these "so close yet so far" cases that are the most tragic. Have seen it happen to my students, all because things cannot be managed on a case by case basis. Appreciate the support!

Rema T V from Chennai, India on September 16, 2012:

Oh what a sad ending Michelle! I cannot accept it but is whatever that is happening in our life acceptable to us? No, never, there are so many things beyond our control and this is what happened here in Steve's case.

Very sad indeed! It hurts to read such sad tales but this is the bitter truth we have to understand. Great poem Michelle. You are very talented. God Bless you. Cheers, Rema.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on September 08, 2012:

Yep, it's a weird world, Lord. We have to see all this tragedy in a more positive light, though! Thanks for coming by!

Joseph De Cross from New York on September 08, 2012:

Agreeing with so many. Amazing read; had to read twice as well! Lol!

Not my night for tragedies that can strike with no warning. This world is really crazy. Thanks for sharing this prose-poem!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on August 31, 2012:

Hi Mary....sadly, this is a true situation that I encountered many times as a teacher, and I couldn't blame the principal either as his hands were tied by the authorities. Wish things were more flexible!! Appreciate you, Mary!!

Mary Craig from New York on August 31, 2012:

Amazing! Sometimes we need to bend the see the people not the dollar signs. This was just well written and something you want to read from beginning to end!

Voted up, awesome, and interesting.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on August 29, 2012:

Thanks, Mary! Sadly, many fail to see that being unbending causes many, many problems! Sometimes, one has to make exceptions for rule if it is valid. Thanks for coming by!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on August 29, 2012:

I liked the ending the best. Lots of meaning here . I had to read the Hub twice...not your fault, mine!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on August 25, 2012:

Thanks, Yes.

IntegrityYes on August 25, 2012:

That is great.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on August 24, 2012:

Thanks, Bill!! Glad you like this....trying to meet the challenge of putting those ideas through in a poetic story. Glad you liked the ending, my personal favorite of the moment! Thanks for coming by.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 24, 2012:

Communication is the key to any relationship...compromise....oh my goodness. Great poem, or set of poems, with a slam-bam ending. Great job!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on August 24, 2012:

Rash indeed she was, and inflexible as well. I think we've all be victims of this way too often! Thanks for coming by, my friend and the share.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on August 24, 2012:

Thanks Shutri, for the warm compliment and you write beautiful poetry too. Thanks for dropping by, and the share!

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on August 24, 2012:

Wonderful poem and wow they ending was so very tragic. Snape and rash decisions can totally lead to tragic consequences unfortunately, but you did relay this message very well. Have shared, voted and tweeted too!!

shruti sheshadri from Bangalore, India on August 24, 2012:

Great poem! A deep message indeed! You are an allrounder in writing... you really are :) beautiful, voted and shared!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on August 24, 2012:

Hi, Richard!! That's true. People often make decisions all too quickly, just so that they can fit protocol. Sadly, though, the stories - they've happened to the kids I teach - are true ones, though they sound a bit exaggerated!! Thanks for coming by!

Rich from Kentucky on August 24, 2012:

Michelle -

Too many snap judgements can create an avalanche of bad decisions. Sometimes patience can definitely be a virtue! Good job, as always!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on August 24, 2012:

Hi Spy!! Thanks for being the first here!! Hugs for sharing, thanks my friend.

DragonBallSuper on August 24, 2012:

shared all over Michelle. that was a clever poem.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on August 24, 2012:

When people cannot make exceptions over rules at the right time and allow a little flexibility, it can cause tragedy, as this little poem shows.

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