Sold and other Poems


 by Anne E Thompson

When all consuming
Saps all mobility from limbs
Removes the ability to make
Even the softest sound.
So it was in silence
That he killed her
Repeatedly killed her.
You can die many times
In thirty seconds.
When he left
To continue with his living
She found a tiny shred
Of life within her.
She stretched it out
Thin and taut
To fit the shape
Of who she had been.
Because the shape was the same
No one noticed she had gone.
So she fed the brittle remains
With normality and routine,
And the remnant began to grow,
To fill her shape more naturally
To fit her life more comfortably.
But she always knew
That it might tear again
And leave the shell
Without a soul.


Many women today are abused or work in the sex industry. Some of these were sold as children to the brothels, where they were given general work, such as cleaning, until they became old enough to receive clients. Even if they want to leave, where would they go? Tearfund works with partners in Mumbai to provide a safe place for women who want to leave the sex trade. You can learn more about this work at:


Who Loves the Girl with the Dancing Black Eyes?
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Have you seen the girl with the dancing black eyes?
With the bubbles of laughter,
And chuckling stomach thrust forward
In mischievous game.
An exuberant bundle of fun.

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Who provides for the girl with the dancing black eyes?
What cost the torn red dress patterned with white?
Do you sell your body,
Abandon safety and pride to a willing stranger?
Or do you wear down sore fingers
Making rugs from rags?
Or is it begged from tourists,
With outstretched hand and pitiful eyes
And gentle tugs at their clothes?

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Who cares for the girl with the dancing black eyes?
Who pulls back her fringe with elastic hair band?
Gives her food and cuddles
And notices should she wander?
Who knows her feet are sore and red
As she dances over rubbish strewn paths?
Who shelters her from rain,
Or harm?
Who loves the girl with the dancing black eyes?


When we were in Mumbai, David visited the surrounding slums to see some of the work that Tearfund is doing. I was ill and stayed in the hotel room but when he returned, I could see from the tension in his face that he had seen some sad sights. As he carefully removed his clothes and sealed them into a plastic bag, I could guess at the hygiene standards in the slum.

We then looked at his photographs. He had taken several of a ‘street’ in the slums and there was the little girl. We have no idea who she is, but she is clearly having a laugh and teasing someone inside the make-shift house. She is laughing with her whole being. Something about her tugged at my heart. Every fibre of my maternal being wanted to take her home, wash and dress her and take her to school. Clearly it was more appropriate to instead give money to a charity that could improve her situation in her own home but I cannot forget her. She is the screen saver on my computer and reminds me that when I think life is hard, I do not really know what ‘hard’ is. When I raise money to be used in India, it is her laugh that motivates me.



I held you,
Your weight light on my hip
As I touched your button nose
With mine,
Peered deep into
Shining eyes,
Because you are my world.

We held hands
As we walked to the station.
And you skipped beside me
While my heart
Became still,
Because you were my world.

I sold you
To the man whose words
Promised me,
That you would be schooled
And be fed
And have chances in life,
Beyond my reach.
And I walked away,
With breaking heart
And one hundred pounds
And the prayer you would be safe.
Because you were my world.

Help to stop child trafficking. See for more details.


More poems at:

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