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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Minute(s) (as in time) (03/03/11)

TITLE: Regret
By Verna Cole Mitchell
03/06/11


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Just a minute,
A sliver of time,
Was all it took
For Little Paul,
Two-year-old cherub—
Joy of his mom and dad,
To climb a chair
And grab the plate of butter
From the table
In the dining room,
And with butter knife
In chubby fist,
To paint wide sweeps
Of yellow
Wherever he could reach
To color flowers on wallpaper
In the family’s new home.

Just a minute
Till his mother found him,
Sitting on the floor,
Evidence of his artistry
All around him.
She scolded him
With sharp voice
And stinging words.
He understood the tone,
If not everything she said,
And his tears fell,
Making greasy circles
On the butter plate.

Just a minute,
Merely sixty seconds,
That’s all
Little Paul needed
To find,
Hidden in a corner,
A rusty safety pin
That he would swallow,
Which would become
A poison in his body,
Its presence discovered
By doctors—
Too late.

Just a minute
The baby boy was breathing,
And in the next,
He was at play
Among the angels.

His mother wished
Through the many years
Of her long life
That she could take back
That minute,
When she had
Scolded Little Paul
So harshly.
If only she could grasp again
That brief fragment of time,
She would happily
Let him daub with butter
All her walls.
Still, she held fast to faith
That a sweet little boy
With ebony curls
Would greet her
At Heaven’s Gate.


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This article has been read 502 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Virgil Youngblood 03/11/11
Tenderly written with a heart felt message. Well done.
Cheryl von Drehle03/12/11
brought tears...a very wrenching description of regret, and reminder of how precious each moment is. Very poignant and well written
Karlene Jacobsen 03/12/11
Tissue alert. This is such a sad reminder to take care in the words and the tone we use with our children. Nicely done.
Rachel Phelps03/15/11
Gut-wrenching. The spare style worked so well (and so terribly). Well done, and I'm so sorry for your loss.
Kellie Henningsen03/15/11
Oh I am so sorry! This speaks to a mother's heart so powerfully and to know it's true and a part of your life is so sad. There are no words.
Loren T. Lowery03/15/11
The title could not be more perfect. The story no better told. If only we could take back a moment of time - this would be one of them. Even after so many years, it tears at the soul. So sorry for your loss.
Lillian Rhoades 03/15/11
Poignant, heart-wrenching. Every word grabs the heart.
You wrote just right!
Bonnie Bowden 03/15/11
I cried real tears over this piece. Such a heart-wrenching thing to have happened, but love as well as pain flows throughout.

No words can express how sad I am for you to loose your special little boy.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/15/11
This is beautifully done. It does only take a minute, beautiful tribute and a wonderful message.
Ann Grover03/16/11
This is exquisitely beautiful. Nothing else to say.
Carol Penhorwood 03/19/11
Absolutely heart wrenching! I can't imagine a greater loss than losing a child.