Your smile turned upside down.

Beaten, you hid yourself away

deep inside an inner labyrinth.

A maze of twisting, turning tunnels

where light goes in

but only darkness comes out.

Your eyes switched off.

Their animated sparkle gone,

I can’t find you anymore.


Beaten black & blue,

whipped by their brutal words,

your anguish took root,

spreading its tentacles across a blue sky,

turning it black,

as their poison coursed

through your veins,

straight to your heart.


Frantic, I’m running.

My heart’s beating

right out of my chest.

I’m gasping for breath so much

my lungs ache.

Where are you?

How will reach you in time?

I don’t know but please just hold on.

Hold on!

I’m going to take you home.


“Forgive them.

They know not

what they do.”

Rubbish! They know!

They have always known.

Twisting their vicious knives

deep inside their hapless prey,

the sacrificial lamb,

they leave no scars.

Not even a scratch.

Oh to be popular!

They can do what they like…

A pretty face but an ugly heart.

Is it worth it?

Selling your soul to buy friends?

I’d rather be alone.


Sweetie, I don’t know

why they hurt you

but I won’t let them win.

Oh no!

I’m holding on,

gripping you tight.

As tight as I can,

even by the barest tip

of my fingernails.

I’ll never let you go.

My love is too strong.



they’d better run!


Rowena Newton


This is a fictional poem and yet we all know it’s not but it’s not one particular person’s story. Unfortunately, it is rare to find a child who hasn’t experienced being bullied at some point in their lives. However, just because it is common, that doesn’t minimise what bullying does to people. The incredible pain and humiliation it brings.

On eof the things that has spoken to me in recent years, is the importace o speaking out. Not being a bystander. Here’s a great clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruBqetaMd5g

Bullying is like with so many other issues. You can’t just sit on the fence. You’re either in or you’re out. If you stand by and allow someone to be bullied without intervening in some way directly or indirectly, you are part of the problem as well. Guilty! You’re a bully!

Bullying has both directly and indirectly caused people to take their own lives not just as teens but also later in life as those ghastly ripples keep flowing.

At home, we try and talk about the importance of the Golden Rule in our family. I find that’s a good starting point for teaching children how to have better relationships. Treat others as you would like to be treated. You might not get it exactly right but at least your intentions were good.

I think it is also good to have that conversation about what it means to be popular and whether it is worth selling out on your personal values and ethics just to be one of the cool kids? Is it worth it? I’m not saying that all popular people are bad or bullies. Indeed, it might be kids somewhat on the outer who are putting others down to make themselves look good. I don’t know.

What is clear, though, is that bullying is having serious ramification a for young people and we as a community and as a culture need to stand up and make it very clear that it’s unacceptable. Indeed, that it’s a crime.

Now, to try to do something about it!

But…where do we begin…? Any ideas? I love to get a good discussion going.

xx Rowena

14 thoughts on “Hopscotched.

  1. kcg1974

    Roweena, your poem gave me goosebumps. I know what it’s like to be on the outside looking in. Although never bullied, my brother was just horribly, while I was always on the fence. Never quite fitting in with either side. And of course, raising children with chronic conditions, this was my number one motivation in writing. To protect my children from bullying, although this wasn’t the buzz word at the time. I so didn’t want them to be treated any ‘differently.’ Hearts to you, Roweena. Much love my dear friend.

  2. Tails Around the Ranch

    There are lots of ideas on the topic of bullying and the Golden Rule is a great start toward stopping. As parents we need teach our children to be independent thinkers as well and to make sure their self image isn’t distorted one way or another…a hard balance to achieve. Bullying must be stopped-to not stop it fails our children and society as a whole. Bullying kids grow up to be bullying adults, in America…also known as Donald Trump. Sigh.

  3. New Journey

    I always stressed to my children to make friends with the kids that others made fun of….I tired to explain that the bullies are acting on fear of someone who is different…that they were never taught to do the right thing…to set an example for others….my son had a little friend who had ADD and was extremely small…they were friends from kindergarten through high school graduation….my daughter was always an outsider as she was and introvert and would rather read than play games…but she was never bullied…she had several friends that were like her….readers and quiet….but she was always there for the kids that were made fun of…stood up to the bullies….both my kids are fearless when it comes to bullies….the Golden Rule is always a great way to start the discussion….I always pointed out situations in grocery stores and other places so they could get a good view at how kids were acting, and not only kids, the parents of kids can be terrible to them in public…such a great topic to get out there and talk about…good post….xxxkat The other issue I have noticed is the kids are so violent in this day and age…bringing guns to school, its a whole new ball game….

  4. roweeee Post author

    Kath, we are fortunate that the violence doesn’t seem so bad here as the US. We just don’t have that omnipresence of guns. I’m not sure how we go with knives and other things. I know things here aren’t great either. From what I here, locally the punch up is still the go and giving kids a shove.
    That’s a great idea with education kids when you’re out and about. Seeing something in action is a great illustration.
    Hope you are having a great week xx Rowena

  5. roweeee Post author

    I was bullied pretty extensively at high school and it almost seemed like a right of passage into the popular group. However, back when I was at school, bullies were typecast as boys and it was all about physical punch ups and the like. Yet, some of the girls I went to school with make those male bullies look kind and you were either popular or a loser. I was thrilled once I started university and landed on my feet and was even somewhat popular myself.

  6. roweeee Post author

    I agree with what you say about bullying kids growing up in bullying adults. A friend of mine is a teacher and she’s told me horrific stories about parents bullying their kids and the teacher. Ther eis a real culture where she teaches in Sydney where the kid who comes second isn’t one of the winners but “the first loser”. Isn’t that dreadful! That said, we parents all make mistakes and we are far from perfect in this house.

  7. roweeee Post author

    Thanks very much, Kim. Bullying wasn’t a buzz word when I was at school either. I went to an all-girls school for “young ladies” but they could be brutal. Of course, there were no physical scars and I think that almost made it feel okay. That there was something wrong with you.
    I was lucky that once I went to university, I found my niche and was much happier. I’ve since been to school reunions which have gone really well. I don’t think the nasty ones have ever turned up.Much love to you too! xx Ro

  8. kcg1974

    I’m glad all turned out for you in that regard, Roweena. I changed schools in the 11th grade, so I never once went to a high school re-union. Something I kind of missed out on, I think. 😦

  9. Pingback: Does Bullying Pay? | beyondtheflow

  10. Norah

    Your poem is awesome, Rowena. You have captured the emotions so well. Bullying is a terrible thing. You have started a great discussion here. We have some fabulous Australian authors who have written very good books for young people about bullying, including Susanne Gervay’s, “I am Jack” http://www.sgervay.com/i-am-jack-series/i-am-jack/ and Karen Tyrrell’s “Stop the Bully” http://www.karentyrrell.com/ The Golden Rule is a great place to start. I did come across a great innovation on that (not sure where) which stated that we should treat others as they wish to be treated, which is not always as we would wish. Thanks for this important discussion.

  11. Minuscule Moments

    Wonderful poem Rowena, we have all been there. I think about the meanest gal in school. She was pretty but her heart was so dark that she looked ugly to most of us. I hope I am bringing my children up and teaching them to celebrate difference and accept we are all different.

  12. roweeee Post author

    You just have to hope that other parents are trying to do the same with their kids. I live in such a bubble these days and my blogging world is full of people like us trying to do the right thing and make the world a better place. I don’t have much to do with them rest.

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