Poems by Theme


Barrett Browning, Elizabeth

Cry Of the Children

Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers,
Ere the sorrow comes with years?
They are leaning their young heads against their mothers,
And that cannot stop their tears.
The young lambs are bleating in the meadows,
The young birds are chirping in the nest,
The young fawns are playing with the shadows,
The young flowers are blowing toward the west:
But the young, young children, O my brothers,
They are weeping bitterly!
They are weeping in the playtime of the others,
In the country of the free.

Do you question the young children in the sorrow
Why their tears are falling so?
The old man may weep for his to-morrow
Which is lost in Long Ago;
The old tree is leafless in the forest,
The old year is ending in the frost,
The old wound, if stricken, is the sorest,
The old hope is hardest to be lost:
But the young, young children, O my brothers,
Do you ask them why they stand
Weeping sore before the bosoms of their mothers,
In our happy Fatherland?

They look up with their pale and sunken faces,
And their looks are sad to see,
For the man’s hoary anguish draws and presses
Down the cheeks of infancy;
Your old earth, they say, is very dreary,
Our young feet, they say, are very weak;
Few paces have we taken, yet are weary
Our grave-rest is very far to seek:
Ask the aged why they weep, and not the children,
For the outside earth is cold,
And we young ones stand without, in our bewildering,
And the graves are for the old.

True, say the children, it may happen
That we die before our time:
Little Alice died last year, her grave is shapen
Like a snowball, in the rime.
We looked into the pit prepared to take her:
Was no room for any work in the close clay!
From the sleep wherein she lieth none will wake her,
Crying, ‘Get up, little Alice! it is day.’
If you listen by that grave, in sun and shower,
With your ear down, little Alice never cries:
Could we see her face, be sure we should not know her,
For the smile has time for growing in her eyes:
And merry go her moments, lull’d and still’d in
The shroud by the kirk-chime.
It is good when it happens, say the children,
That we die before our time.

Alas, alas, the children! they are seeking
Death in life, as best to have:
They are binding up their hearts away from breaking,
With a cerement from the grave.
Go out, children, from the mine and from the city,
Sing out, children, as the little thrushes do;
Pluck your handfuls of the meadow-cow-slips pretty,
Laugh aloud, to feel your fingers let them through!
But they answer, Are your cowslips of the meadows
Like our weeds anear the mine?
Leave us quiet in the dark of the coal-shadows,
From your pleasures fair and fine!

For oh, say the children, we are weary,
And we cannot run or leap;
If we car’d for any meadows, it were merely
To drop down in them and sleep.
Our knees tremble sorely in the stooping,
We fall upon our faces, trying to go;
And, underneath our heavy eyelids drooping,
The reddest flower would look as pale as snow.
For, all day, we drag our burden tiring
Through the coal-dark, underground,
Or, all day, we drive the wheels of iron
In the factories, round and round.

For all day, the wheels are droning, turning;
Their wind comes in our faces,
Till our hearts turn, our heads with pulses burning,
And the walls turn in their places:
Turns the sky in the high window blank and reeling,
Turns the long light that drops adown the wall,
Turn the black flies that crawl along the ceiling,
All are turning, all the day, and we with all.
And all day, the iron wheels are droning,
And sometimes we could pray,
‘O ye wheels,’ moaning breaking out in a mad
‘Stop! be silent for to-day!’

Ay, be silent! Let them hear each other breathing
For a moment, mouth to mouth!
Let them touch each other’s hands, in a fresh wreathing
Of their tender human youth!
Let them feel that this cold metallic motion
Is not all the life God fashions or reveals:
Let them prove their living souls against the notion
That they live in you, or under you, O wheels!
Still, all day, the iron wheels go onward,
Grinding life down from its mark;
And the children’s souls, which God is calling sunward,
Spin on blindly in the dark.

Now tell the poor young children, O my brothers,
To look up to Him and pray;
So the blessed One who blesseth all the others,
Will bless them another day.
They answer, Who is God that He should hear us,
While the rushing of the iron wheels is stirr’d?
When we sob aloud, the human creatures near us
Pass by, hearing not, or answer not a word.
And we hear not (for the wheels in their resounding)
Strangers speaking at the door:
Is it likely God, with angels singing round Him,
Hears our weeping any more?

Two words, indeed, of praying we remember,
And at midnight’s hour of harm,
‘Our Father,’ looking upward in the chamber,
We say softly for a charm.
We know no other words except ‘Our Father,’
And we think that, in some pause of angels’ song,
God may pluck them with the silence sweet to gather,
And hold both within His right hand which is strong.
‘Our Father!’ If He heard us, He would surely
(For they call Him good and mild)
Answer, smiling down the steep world very purely,
‘Come and rest with me, my child.’

But, no! say the children, weeping faster,
He is speechless as a stone:
And they tell us, of His image is the master
Who commands us to work on.
Go to! say the children,up in heaven,
Dark, wheel-like, turning clouds are all we find.
Do not mock us; grief has made us unbelieving:
We look up for God, but tears have made us blind.
Do you hear the children weeping and disproving,
O my brothers, what ye preach?
For God’s possible is taught by His world’s loving,
And the children doubt of each.

And well may the children weep before you!
They are weary ere they run:
They have never seen the sunshine, nor the glory
Which is brighter than the sun.
They know the grief of man, without its wisdom;
They sink in man’s despair, without its calm;
Are slaves, without the liberty in Christdom,
Are martyrs, by the pang without the palm:
Are worn as if with age, yet unretrievingly
The harvest of its memories cannot reap,
Are orphans of the earthly love and heavenly.
Let them weep! let them weep!

They look up with their pale and sunken faces,
And their look is dread to see,
For they mind you of their angels in high places,
With eyes turned on Deity.
How long, they say, how long, O cruel nation,
Will you stand, to move the world, on a child’s heart,
Stifle down with a mailed heel its palpitation,
And tread onward to your throne amid the mart?
Our blood splashes upward, O gold-heaper,
And your purple shows your path!
But the child’s sob in the silence curses deeper
Than the strong man in his wrath.

Law Nolte, Dorothy

Children Learn What They Live

If children live with criticism,
they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility,
they learn to fight.

If children live with fear,
they learn to be apprehensive.

If children live with pity,
they learn to feel sorry for themselves.

If children live with ridicule,
they learn to feel shy.

If children live with jealousy,
they learn to feel envy.

If children live with shame,
they learn to feel guilty.

If children live with encouragement,
they learn confidence.

If children live with tolerance,
they learn patience.

If children live with praise,
they learn appreciation.

If children live with acceptance,
they learn to love.

If children live with approval,
they learn to like themselves.

If children live with recognition,
they learn it is good to have a goal.

If children live with sharing,
they learn generosity.

If children live with honesty,
they learn truthfulness.

If children live with fairness,
they learn justice.

If children live with kindness and consideration,
they learn respect.

If children live with security,
they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.

If children live with friendliness,
they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Blake, William

The Lamb

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight;
Softest clothing, wooly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee:
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and he is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

Field, Eugene

A Valentine to My Wife

Accept, dear girl, this little token,
And if between the lines you seek,
You'll find the love I've often spoken—
The love my dying lips shall speak.

Our little ones are making merry
O'er am'rous ditties rhymed in jest,
But in these words (though awkward—very)
The genuine article's expressed.

You are as fair and sweet and tender,
Dear brown-eyed little sweetheart mine,
As when, a callow youth and slender,
I asked to be your Valentine.

What though these years of ours be fleeting?
What though the years of youth be flown?
I'll mock old Tempus with repeating,
"I love my love and her alone!"

And when I fall before his reaping,
And when my stuttering speech is dumb,
Think not my love is dead or sleeping,
But that it waits for you to come.

So take, dear love, this little token,
And if there speaks in any line
The sentiment I'd fain have spoken,
Say, will you kiss your Valentine?

Rossetti, Christina Georgina

Crying, my little one, footsore and weary?

Crying, my little one, footsore and weary?
Fall asleep, pretty one, warm on my shoulder:
I must tramp on through the winter night dreary,
While the snow falls on me colder and colder.
You are my one, and I have not another;
Sleep soft, my darling, my trouble and treasure;
Sleep warm and soft in the arms of your mother,
Dreaming of pretty things, dreaming of pleasure.

Wadsworth Longfellow, Henry

Children (Longfellow)

Come to me, O ye children!
For I hear you at your play,
And the questions that perplexed me
Have vanished quite away.

Ye open the eastern windows,
That look towards the sun,
Where thoughts are singing swallows
And the brooks of morning run.

In your hearts are the birds and the sunshine,
In your thoughts the brooklet’s flow,
But in mine is the wind of Autumn
And the first fall of the snow.

Ah! what would the world be to us
If the children were no more?
We should dread the desert behind us
Worse than the dark before.

What the leaves are to the forest,
With light and air for food,
Ere their sweet and tender juices
Have been hardened into wood,

That to the world are children;
Through them it feels the glow
Of a brighter and sunnier climate
Than reaches the trunks below.

Come to me, O ye children!
And whisper in my ear
What the birds and the winds are singing
In your sunny atmosphere.

For what are all our contrivings,
And the wisdom of our books,
When compared with your caresses,
And the gladness of your looks?

Ye are better than all the ballads
That ever were sung or said;
For ye are living poems,
And all the rest are dead.

Kipling, Rudyard

If (Kipling)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Canton, William

Laus Infantium

In praise of little children I will say
God first made man, then found a better way
For woman, but his third way was the best
Of all created things, the loveliest
And most divine are children. Nothing here
Can be to us more gracious or more dear.
And though, when God saw all his works were good,
There was no rosy flower of babyhood,
‘Twas said of children in a later day
That none could enter Heaven save such as they.

The earth, which feels the flowering of a thorn,
Was glad, O little child, when you were born;
The earth, which thrills when skylarks scale the blue,
Soared up itself to God’s own Heaven in you;

And Heaven, which loves to lean down and to glass
Its beauty in each dewdrop on the grass,—
Heaven laughed to find your face so pure and fair,
And left, O little child, its reflex there.

Whitman, Walt

There Was A Child Went Forth

There was a child went forth every day,
And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became,
And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day,
Or for many years or stretching cycles of years.

The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass and white and red morning-glories, and white and red
clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,
And the Third-month lambs and the sow's pink-faint litter, and the
mare's foal and the cow's calf,
And the noisy brood of the barnyard or by the mire of the

And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there, and the
beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads, all became part
of him.

The field-sprouts of Fourth-month and Fifth-month became part of him,
Winter-grain sprouts and those of the light-yellow corn, and the
esculent roots of the garden,
And the apple-trees cover'd with blossoms and the fruit afterward,
and wood-berries, and the commonest weeds by the road,
And the old drunkard staggering home from the outhouse of the
tavern whence he had lately risen,
And the schoolmistress that pass'd on her way to the school,
And the friendly boys that pass'd, and the quarrelsome boys,
And the tidy and fresh-cheek'd girls, and the barefoot negro boy and girl,
And all the changes of city and country wherever he went.

His own parents, he that had father'd him and she that had conceiv'd
him in her womb and birth'd him,
They gave this child more of themselves than that,
They gave him afterward every day, they became part of him.

The mother at home quietly placing the dishes on the supper-table,
The mother with mild words, clean her cap and gown, a wholesome
odor falling off her person and clothes as she walks by,
The father, strong, self-sufficient, manly, mean, anger'd, unjust,
The blow, the quick loud word, the tight bargain, the crafty lure,
The family usages, the language, the company, the furniture, the
yearning and swelling heart,
Affection that will not be gainsay'd, the sense of what is real, the
thought if after all it should prove unreal,
The doubts of day-time and the doubts of night-time, the curious
whether and how,
Whether that which appears so is so, or is it all flashes and
Men and women crowding fast in the streets, if they are not flashes
and specks what are they?
The streets themselves and the facades of houses, and goods in the windows,
Vehicles, teams, the heavy-plank'd wharves, the huge crossing at the ferries,
The village on the highland seen from afar at sunset, the river between,

Shadows, aureola and mist, the light falling on roofs and gables of
white or brown two miles off,
The schooner near by sleepily dropping down the tide, the little
boat slack-tow'd astern,
The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests, slapping,
The strata of color'd clouds, the long bar of maroon-tint away
solitary by itself, the spread of purity it lies motionless in,
The horizon's edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh
and shore mud,
These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who
now goes, and will always go forth every day.

Blake, William

Infant Sorrow

My mother groaned, my father wept:
Into the dangerous world I leapt,
Helpless, naked, piping loud,
Like a fiend hid in a cloud.
Struggling in my father's hands,
Striving against my swaddling bands,
Bound and weary, I thought best
To sulk upon my mother's breast.

Blake, William

The Chimney Sweeper

A little black thing among the snow,
Crying! 'weep! weep!' in notes of woe!
'Where are thy father and mother? Say!'
'They are both gone up to the church to pray.
'Because I was happy upon the heath,
And smiled among the winter's snow,
They clothed me in the clothes of death,
And taught me to sing the notes of woe.
'And because I am happy and dance and sing,
They think they have done me no injury,
And are gone to praise God and His priest and king,
Who made up a heaven of our misery.'

Allen, Elizabeth

Rock Me to Sleep

Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,
Make me a child again just for to-night!
Mother, come back from the echoless shore,
Take me again to your heart as of yore;
Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care,
Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair;
Over my slumbers your loving watch keep;
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!

Backward, flow backward, O tide of the years!
I am so weary of toil and of tears,
Toil without recompense, tears all in vain,
Take them, and give me my childhood again!
I have grown weary of dust and decay,
Weary of flinging my soul-wealth away;
Weary of sowing for others to reap;
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!

Tired of the hollow, the base, the untrue,
Mother, O mother, my heart calls for you!
Many a summer the grass has grown green,
Blossomed and faded, our faces between:
Yet, with strong yearning and passionate pain,
Long I to-night for your presence again.
Come from the silence so long and so deep;
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!

Over my heart, in the days that are flown,
No love like mother-love ever has shone;
No other worship abides and endures,
Faithful, unselfish, and patient like yours:
None like a mother can charm away pain
From the sick soul and the world-weary brain.
Slumber's soft calms o'er my heavy lids creep;
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!

Come, let your brown hair, just lighted with gold,
Fall on your shoulders again as of old;
Let it drop over my forehead to-night,
Shading my faint eyes away from the light;
For with its sunny-edged shadows once more
Haply will throng the sweet visions of yore;
Lovingly, softly, its bright billows sweep;
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!

Mother, dear mother, the years have been long
Since I last listened your lullaby song:
Sing, then, and unto my soul it shall seem
Womanhood's years have been only a dream.
Clasped to your heart in a loving embrace,
With your light lashes just sweeping my face,
Never hereafter to wake or to weep;
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!

Chinmoy, Sri

Sympathy Givers

Advice givers
Are everywhere

Sympathy givers
Are very rare.

Wordsworth, William

My Heart Leaps Up

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

Dow Brine, Mary

Somebody's Mother

The woman was old and ragged and gray
And bent with the chill of the Winter's day.

The street was wet with a recent snow
And the woman's feet were aged and slow.

She stood at the crossing and waited long,
Alone, uncared for, amid the throng

Of human beings who passed her by
Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eyes.

Down the street, with laughter and shout,
Glad in the freedom of "school let out,"

Came the boys like a flock of sheep,
Hailing the snow piled white and deep.

Past the woman so old and gray
Hastened the children on their way.

Nor offered a helping hand to her -
So meek, so timid, afraid to stir

Lest the carriage wheels or the horses' feet
Should crowd her down in the slippery street.

At last came one of the merry troop,
The gayest laddie of all the group;

He paused beside her and whispered low,
"I'll help you cross, if you wish to go."

Her aged hand on his strong young arm
She placed, and so, without hurt or harm,

He guided the trembling feet along,
Proud that his own were firm and strong.

Then back again to his friends he went,
His young heart happy and well content.

"She's somebody's mother, boys, you know,
For all she's aged and poor and slow,

"And I hope some fellow will lend a hand
To help my mother, you understand,

"If ever she's poor and old and gray,
When her own dear boy is far away."

And "somebody's mother" bowed low her head
In her home that night, and the prayer she said

Was "God be kind to the noble boy,
Who is somebody's son, and pride and joy!"

Gordon, Nicholas

A Mother's Love

A mother's love determines how
We love ourselves and others.
There is no sky we'll ever see
Not lit by that first love.

Stripped of love, the universe
Would drive us mad with pain;
But we are born into a world
That greets our cries with joy.

How much I owe you for the kiss
That told me who I was!
The greatest gift--a love of life--
Lay laughing in your eyes.

Because of you my world still has
The soft grace of your smile;
And every wind of fortune bears
The scent of your caress.

Tagore, Rabindranath

On The Seashore

On the seashore of endless worlds children meet.
The infinite sky is motionless overhead
And the restless water is boisterous.
On the seashore of endless worlds
The children meet with shouts and dances.

They build their houses with sand,
And they play with empty shells.
With withered leaves they weave
Their boats and smilingly float them
On the vast deep.
Children have their play on the
Seashore of worlds.

They know not how to swim,
They know not how to cast nets.
Pearl-fishers dive for pearls,
Merchants sail in their ships,
While children gather pebbles
And scatter them again.
They seek not for hidden treasures,
They know not how to cast nets.

The sea surges up with laughter,
And pale gleams the smile of the sea-beach.
Death-dealing waves sing
Meaningless ballads to the children,
Even like a mother while rocking her baby's cradle.
The sea plays with children,
And pale gleams the smile of the sea-beach.

On the seashore of endless worlds children meet.
Tempest roams in the pathless sky,
Ships are wrecked in the trackless water,
Death is abroad and children play.
On the seashore of endless worlds is the
Great meeting of children.

Lawrence, D H

Beautiful Old Age

It ought to be lovely to be old
to be full of the peace that comes of experience
and wrinkled ripe fulfilment.

The wrinkled smile of completeness that follows a life
lived undaunted and unsoured with accepted lies
they would ripen like apples, and be scented like pippins
in their old age.

Soothing, old people should be, like apples
when one is tired of love.
Fragrant like yellowing leaves, and dim with the soft
stillness and satisfaction of autumn.

And a girl should say:
It must be wonderful to live and grow old.
Look at my mother, how rich and still she is!

And a young man should think: By Jove
my father has faced all weathers, but it's been a life!

Angelou, Maya

Human Family

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I've sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I've seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I've not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England's moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we're the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends
, than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

Barnard, Anne

My Heart is a Lute

Alas, that my heart is a lute,
Whereon you have learned to play!
For a many years it was mute,
Until one summer's day
You took it, and touched it, and made it thrill,
And it thrills and throbs, and quivers still!

I had known you, dear, so long!
Yet my heart did not tell me why
It should burst one morn into song,
And wake to new life with a cry,
Like a babe that sees the light of the sun,
And for whom this great world has just begun.

Your lute is enshrined, cased in,
Kept close with love's magic key,
So no hand but yours can win
And wake it to minstrelsy;
Yet leave it not silent too long, nor alone,
Lest the strings should break, and the music be done.

Barrett Browning, Elizabeth

The Deserted Garden

I mind me in the days departed,
How often underneath the sun
With childish bounds I used to run
To a garden long deserted.

The beds and walks were vanish'd quite;
And wheresoe'er had struck the spade,
The greenest grasses Nature laid,
To sanctify her right.

I call'd the place my wilderness,
For no one enter'd there but I.
The sheep look'd in, the grass to espy,
And pass'd it ne'ertheless.

The trees were interwoven wild,
And spread their boughs enough about
To keep both sheep and shepherd out,
But not a happy child.

Adventurous joy it was for me!
I crept beneath the boughs, and found
A circle smooth of mossy ground
Beneath a poplar-tree.

Old garden rose-trees hedged it in,
Bedropt with roses waxen-white,
Well satisfied with dew and light,
And careless to be seen.

Long years ago, it might befall,
When all the garden flowers were trim,
The grave old gardener prided him
On these the most of all.

Some Lady, stately overmuch,
Here moving with a silken noise,
Has blush'd beside them at the voice
That liken'd her to such.

Or these, to make a diadem,
She often may have pluck'd and twined;
Half-smiling as it came to mind,
That few would look at them.

O, little thought that Lady proud,
A child would watch her fair white rose,
When buried lay her whiter brows,
And silk was changed for shroud!

Nor thought that gardener (full of scorns
For men unlearn'd and simple phrase)
A child would bring it all its praise,
By creeping through the thorns!

To me upon my low moss seat,
Though never a dream the roses sent
Of science or love's compliment,
I ween they smelt as sweet.

It did not move my grief to see
The trace of human step departed
: Because the garden was deserted,
The blither place for me!

Friends, blame me not! a narrow ken
Hath childhood 'twixt the sun and sward:
We draw the moral afterward
We feel the gladness then.

And gladdest hours for me did glide
In silence at the rose-tree wall:
A thrush made gladness musical
Upon the other side.

Nor he nor I did e'er incline
To peck or pluck the blossoms white
How should I know but that they might
Lead lives as glad as mine?

To make my hermit-home complete,
I brought clear water from the spring
Praised in its own low murmuring,
And cresses glossy wet.

And so, I thought, my likeness grew
(Without the melancholy tale)
To 'gentle hermit of the dale,'
And Angelina too.

For oft I read within my nook
Such minstrel stories; till the breeze
Made sounds poetic in the trees,
And then I shut the book.

If I shut this wherein I write,
I hear no more the wind athwart
Those trees, nor feel that childish heart
Delighting in delight.

My childhood from my life is parted,
My footstep from the moss which drew
Its fairy circle round: anew

The garden is deserted.

Another thrush may there rehearse
The madrigals which sweetest are;
No more for me!--myself afar
Do sing a sadder verse.

Ah me! ah me! when erst I lay
In that child's-nest so greenly wrought,
I laugh'd unto myself and thought,
'The time will pass away.'

And still I laugh'd, and did not fear
But that, whene'er was pass'd away
The childish time, some happier play
My womanhood would cheer.

I knew the time would pass away;
And yet, beside the rose-tree wall,
Dear God, how seldom, if at all,
Did I look up to pray!

The time is past: and now that grows
The cypress high among the trees,
And I behold white sepulchres
As well as the white rose,

When wiser, meeker thoughts are given,
And I have learnt to lift my face,
Reminded how earth's greenest place
The colour draws from heaven,

It something saith for earthly pain,
But more for heavenly promise free,
That I who was, would shrink to be
That happy child again.

Barrett Browning, Elizabeth


Oh, wilt thou have my hand, Dear, to lie along in thine?
As a little stone in a running stream, it seems to lie and pine.
Now drop the poor pale hand, Dear, unfit to plight with thine.

Oh, wilt thou have my cheek, Dear, drawn closer to thine own?
My cheek is white, my check is worn, by many a tear run down.
Now leave a little space, Dear, lest it should wet thine own.

Oh, must thou have my soul, Dear, commingled with thy soul?
Red grows the cheek, and warm the hand; the part is in the whole;
Nor hands nor cheeks keep separate, when soul is joined to soul.

Guthrie Harding, Ruth


Deep in the heart of me,
Nothing but You!
See through the art of me
Deep in the heart of me
Find the best part of me,
Changeless and true.
Deep in the heart of me,
Nothing but You!

Wheeler Wilcox, Ella

Good-by to the Cradle

Good-by to the cradle, the dear wooden cradle,
The rude hand of Progress has thrust it aside:
No more to its motion, o'er Sleep's fairy ocean,
Our play-weary wayfarers peacefully glide;
No more by the rhythm of slow-moving rocker
Their sweet, dreamy fancies are fostered and fed;
No more to low singing the cradle goes swinging
The child of this era is put into bed!

Good-by to the cradle, the dear wooden cradle,
It lent to the twilight a mystical charm:
When bees left the clover, when playtime was over,
How safe seemed this shelter from danger and harm;
How soft seemed the pillow, how distant the ceiling,
How weird were the voices that whispered around;
What dreams would come flocking as, rocking and rocking,
We floated away into slumber profound.

Good-by to the cradle, the old wooden cradle,
The babe of the day does not know it by sight;
When day leaves the border, with system and order
The child goes to bed, and we put out the light.
I bow to Progression; and ask no concession,
Though strewn be her pathway with wrecks of the Past.
So off with old lumber, that sweet ark of slumber,
The dear wooden cradle, is ruthlessly cast.

Wheeler Wilcox, Ella

If (Wheeler Wilcox))

Twixt what thou art, and what thou wouldst be, let
No "If" arise on which to lay the blame.
Man makes a mountain of that puny word,
But, like a blade of grass-before the scythe,
It falls and withers when a human will,
Stirred by creative force, sweeps toward its aim.

Thou wilt be what thou couldst be. Circumstance
Is but the toy of genius. When a soul
Burns with a god-like purpose to achieve,
All obstacles between it and its goal
Must vanish as the dew before the sun.

"If" is the motto of the dilettante
And idle dreamer; 'tis the poor excuse
Of mediocrity. The truly great
Know not the word, or know it but to scorn,
Else had Joan of Arc a peasant died,
Uncrowned by glory and by men unsung.

Wheeler Wilcox, Ella

To Marry or Not to Marry? A Girl's Reverie

Mother says, "Be in no hurry,
Marriage oft means care and worry."

Auntie says, with manner grave,
"Wife is synonym for slave."

Father asks, in tones commanding,
"How does Bradstreet rate his standing?"

Sister, crooning to her twins,
Sighs, "With marriage care begins."

Grandma, near life's closing days,
Murmurs, "Sweet are girlhood's ways."

Maud, twice widowed ("sod and grass")
Looks at me and moans "Alas!"

They are six, and I am one,
Life for me has just begun.

They are older, calmer, wiser:
Age should aye be youth's adviser.

They must know---and yet, dear me,
When in Harry's eyes I see

All the world of love there burning
On my six advisers turning,

I make answer, "Oh, but Harry,
Is not like most men who marry.

"Fate has offered me a prize,
Life with love means Paradise.

"Life without it is not worth
All the foolish joys of earth."

So, in spite of all they say,
I shall name the wedding-day.

Gibran, Khalil

Children (Gibran)

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, "Speak to us of Children."

And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;

For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Service, Robert

Her Toys

I sat her in her baby chair,
And set upon its tray
Her kewpie doll and teddy bear,
But no, she would not play.
Although they looked so wistfully
Her favour to implore,
She laughed at me with elfin glee
And dashed them to the floor.

I brought her lamb and circus clown,
But it was just the same:
With shrill of joy she threw them down
As if it were a game.
Maybe it was, for she would look
To see where they were lain
And act pathetic till I took
Her toys to her again.

To-day there's just an empty chair,
And 'mid a mist of pain
I'd give my life if she were there
To toss her toys again.
A tiny ghost is all I see,
Who laughs the while I cry,
And lifts her little hands with glee
Unto the sky.

Service, Robert

Home And Love

Just Home and Love! the words are small
Four little letters unto each;
And yet you will not find in all
The wide and gracious range of speech
Two more so tenderly complete:
When angels talk in Heaven above,
I'm sure they have no words more sweet
Than Home and Love.

Just Home and Love! it's hard to guess
Which of the two were best to gain;
Home without Love is bitterness;
Love without Home is often pain.
No! each alone will seldom do;
Somehow they travel hand and glove:
If you win one you must have two,
Both Home and Love.

And if you've both, well then I'm sure
You ought to sing the whole day long;
It doesn't matter if you're poor
With these to make divine your song.
And so I praisefully repeat,
When angels talk in Heaven above,
There are no words more simply sweet
Than Home and Love.

Service, Robert


Because I was a woman lone
And had of friends so few,
I made two little ones my own,
Whose parents no one knew;
Unwanted foundlings of the night,
Left at the convent door,
Whose tiny hands in piteous plight
Seemed to implore.

By Deed to them I gave my name,
And never will they know
That from the evil slums they came,
Two waifs of want and woe;
I fostered them with love and care
As if they were my own:
Now John, my son, is tall and fair,
And dark is Joan.

My boy's a member of the Bar,
My girl a nurse serene;
Yet when I think of what they are
And what they might have been,
With shuddering I glimpse a hell
Of black and bitter fruit
Where John might be a criminal,
And Joan a prostitute.

Service, Robert

Alias Bill

We bore him to his boneyard lot
One afternoon at three;
The clergyman was on the spot
To earn his modest fee.
We sprinkled on his coffin lid
The customary loam,
And so old Bill was snugly slid
To his last home.

A lonesome celebate we thought,
For close as clam was he;
We never guessed that he had got
A lawful family,
Till lo! we saw a gorgeous wreath
Reposing on his bier,
With on a scarlet scroll beneath:
"To Father Dear."

He ordered it hisself, they said,
Before he had to go.
His folks don't know that he is dead
Maybe they'll never know.
His step was frail, his hair was grey,
But though his sight was dim,
He liked to kid hisself that they
Still thought of him.

Maybe they did: we never knew,
And he would never tell;
Perhaps their hearts were broken too
His was, I think . . . Ah well,
We left him in the boneyard lot
With none to shed a tear,
And just a wreath, the one he bought:

"To Father Dear."

Perkins Gilman, Charlotte Anna

The Housewife

Here is the House to hold me — cradle of all the race;
Here is my lord and my love, here are my children dear —
Here is the House enclosing, the dear-loved dwelling place;
Why should I ever weary for aught that I find not here?

Here for the hours of the day and the hours of the night;
Bound with the bands of Duty, rivetted tight;
Duty older than Adam — Duty that saw
Acceptance utter and hopeless in the eyes of the serving squaw.

Food and the serving of food — that is my daylong care;
What and when we shall eat, what and how we shall wear;
Soiling and cleaning of things — that is my task in the main —
Soil them and clean them and soil them — soil them and clean them again.

To work at my trade by the dozen and never a trade to know;
To plan like a Chinese puzzle — fitting and changing so;
To think of a thousand details, each in a thousand ways;
For my own immediate people and a possible love and praise.

My mind is trodden in circles, tiresome, narrow and hard,
Useful, commonplace, private — simply a small back-yard;
And I the Mother of Nations! — Blind their struggle and vain! —
I cover the earth with my children — each with a housewife's brain.

Strand, Mark

Where Are the Waters of Childhood?

See where the windows are boarded up,
where the gray siding shines in the sun and salt air
and the asphalt shingles on the roof have peeled or fallen off,
where tiers of oxeye daisies float on a sea of grass?
That’s the place to begin.

Enter the kingdom of rot,
smell the damp plaster, step over the shattered glass,
the pockets of dust, the rags, the soiled remains of a mattress,
look at the rusted stove and sink, at the rectangular stain
on the wall where Winslow Homer’s Gulf Stream hung.

Go to the room where your father and mother
would let themselves go in the drift and pitch of love,
and hear, if you can, the creak of their bed,
then go to the place where you hid.

Go to your room, to all the rooms whose cold, damp air you breathed,
to all the unwanted places where summer, fall, winter, spring,
seem the same unwanted season, where the trees you knew have died
and other trees have risen. Visit that other place
you barely recall, that other house half hidden.

See the two dogs burst into sight. When you leave,
they will cease, snuffed out in the glare of an earlier light.
Visit the neighbors down the block; he waters his lawn,
she sits on her porch, but not for long.
When you look again they are gone.

Keep going back, back to the field, flat and sealed in mist.
On the other side, a man and a woman are waiting;
they have come back, your mother before she was gray,
your father before he was white.

Now look at the North West Arm, how it glows a deep cerulean blue.
See the light on the grass, the one leaf burning, the cloud
that flares. You’re almost there, in a moment your parents
will disappear, leaving you under the light of a vanished star,
under the dark of a star newly born. Now is the time.

Now you invent the boat or your flesh and set it upon the waters
and drift in the gradual swell, in the laboring salt.
Now you look down. The waters of childhood are there.

Bradstreet, Anne

In Reference to her Children, 23 June 1659

I had eight birds hatcht in one nest,
Four Cocks were there, and Hens the rest.
I nurst them up with pain and care,
No cost nor labour did I spare
Till at the last they felt their wing,
Mounted the Trees and learned to sing.
Chief of the Brood then took his flight
To Regions far and left me quite.
My mournful chirps I after send
Till he return, or I do end.
Leave not thy nest, thy Dame and Sire,
Fly back and sing amidst this Quire.
My second bird did take her flight
And with her mate flew out of sight.
Southward they both their course did bend,
And Seasons twain they there did spend,
Till after blown by Southern gales
They Norward steer’d with filled sails.
A prettier bird was no where seen,
Along the Beach, among the treen.
I have a third of colour white
On whom I plac’d no small delight,
Coupled with mate loving and true,
Hath also bid her Dame adieu.
And where Aurora first appears,
She now hath percht to spend her years.
One to the Academy flew
To chat among that learned crew.
Ambition moves still in his breast
That he might chant above the rest,
Striving for more than to do well,
That nightingales he might excell.
My fifth, whose down is yet scarce gone,
Is ‘mongst the shrubs and bushes flown
And as his wings increase in strength
On higher boughs he’ll perch at length.
My other three still with me nest
Until they’re grown, then as the rest,
Or here or there, they’ll take their flight,
As is ordain’d, so shall they light.
If birds could weep, then would my tears
Let others know what are my fears
Lest this my brood some harm should catch
And be surpris’d for want of watch
Whilst pecking corn and void of care
They fall un’wares in Fowler’s snare;
Or whilst on trees they sit and sing
Some untoward boy at them do fling,
Or whilst allur’d with bell and glass
The net be spread and caught, alas;
Or lest by Lime-twigs they be foil’d;
Or by some greedy hawks be spoil’d.
O would, my young, ye saw my breast
And knew what thoughts there sadly rest.
Great was my pain when I you bred,
Great was my care when I you fed.
Long did I keep you soft and warm
And with my wings kept off all harm.
My cares are more, and fears, than ever,
My throbs such now as ‘fore were never.
Alas, my birds, you wisdom want
Of perils you are ignorant.
Oft times in grass, on trees, in flight,
Sore accidents on you may light.
O to your safety have an eye,
So happy may you live and die.
Mean while, my days in tunes I’ll spend
Till my weak lays with me shall end.
In shady woods I’ll sit and sing
And things that past, to mind I’ll bring.
Once young and pleasant, as are you,
But former toys (no joys) adieu!
My age I will not once lament
But sing, my time so near is spent,
And from the top bough take my flight
Into a country beyond sight
Where old ones instantly grow young
And there with seraphims set song.
No seasons cold, nor storms they see
But spring lasts to eternity.
When each of you shall in your nest
Among your young ones take your rest,
In chirping languages oft them tell
You had a Dame that lov’d you well,
That did what could be done for young
And nurst you up till you were strong
And ‘fore she once would let you fly
She shew'd you joy and misery,
Taught what was good, and what was ill,
What would save life, and what would kill.
Thus gone, amongst you I may live,
And dead, yet speak and counsel give.
Farewell, my birds, farewell, adieu,
I happy am, if well with you.

Larkin, Philip

This Be the Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were flicked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

Blake, William

Infant Joy

"I have no name;
I am but two days old."
What shall I call thee?
"I happy am,
Joy is my name."
Sweet joy befall thee!

Pretty joy!
Sweet joy, but two days old.
Sweet Joy I call thee:
Thou dost smile,
I sing the while;
Sweet joy befall thee!

Service, Robert

My Future

"Let's make him a sailor," said Father,
"And he will adventure the sea."
"A soldier," said Mother, "is rather
What I would prefer him to be."
"A lawyer," said Father, "would please me,
For then he could draw up my will."
"A doctor," said Mother, "would ease me;
Maybe he could give me a pill."

Said Father: "Let's make him a curate,
A Bishop in gaiters to be."
Said Mother: "I couldn't endure it
To have Willie preaching to me."
Said Father: ""Let him be a poet;
So often he's gathering wool."
Said Mother with temper: "Oh stow it!
You know it, a poet's a fool."

Said Farther: "Your son is a duffer,
A stupid and mischievous elf."
Said Mother, who's rather a huffer:
"That's right - he takes after yourself."
Controlling parental emotion
They turned to me, seeking a cue,
And sudden conceived the bright notion
To ask what I wanted to do.

Said I: "my ambition is modest:
A clown in a circus I'd be,
And turn somersaults in the sawdust
With audience laughing at me."
Poor parents! they're dead and decaying,
But I am a clown as you see;
And though in no circus I'm playing,
How people are laughing at me!

Alcott, Louisa May

What Polly Found in her Stocking

With the first pale glimmer,
Of the morning red,
Polly woke delighted
And flew out of bed.
To the door she hurried,
Never stopped for clothes,
Though Jack Frost's cold fingers
Nipt her little toes.
There it hung! the stocking,
Long and blue and full;
Down it quickly tumbled
With a hasty pull.
Back she capered, laughing,
Happy little Polly;
For from out the stocking
Stared a splendid dolly!
Next, what most she wanted,
In a golden nut,
With a shining thimble,
Scissors that would cut;
Then a book all pictures,
"Children in the Wood."
And some scarlet mittens
Like her scarlet hood.
Next a charming jump-rope,
New and white and strong;
(Little Polly's stocking
Though small was very long,)
In the heel she fumbled,
"Something soft and warm,"
A rainbow ball of worsted
Which could do no harm.
In the foot came bon-bons,
In the toe a ring,
And some seeds of mignonette
Ready for the spring.
There she sat at daylight
Hugging close dear dolly;
Eating, looking, laughing,
Happy little Polly!

Oldfield, Brenda M

Free Our Children, From Religion

Oh weep! For our children, so chastised, so beset,
So hidden! By subterfuge masks, and rigid rituals
So driven! By this primitive, religious mindset
So masquerading! As emotional, and rational unity,

Oh pity! The relentless Bowing! Praying! Dreaming!
Kneeling, in mindless obedience! To gods, stone deaf
Rocking, like shamans! To spirits, so very scheming
Toiling, wedged in cages! Of self-deceit, and alienation

Oh see this almighty, demolition! Of creative actions
Oh gulp as gospel! Infernal guilt, and self-scourging,
Oh hear such sorrows! Of delusions, and dejections
Oh feel, this smug bleeding! Of young minds, and bodies

Oh, must a child, be burdened, be so shackled?
With pre-historic thoughts, lacking guts, to nurture
Nature, instilling instead, schisms, to be manacled,
By nightmares, that linger, so very heathenish

Might such sins, not be expunged, by a wisdom?
Of this plague, infesting, the emotions and intellect,
Of our children, often cruelly, that who can so fathom?

Listen, to their cries, screams and pleas, oh so bleak
For such laments, oh, so silently! So often speak:

Oh unleash these veils! These burdens, of mighty duration
Our minds cheated, by sophistry’s grief, so tormented,
Weighted down, generation, after generation,
With dire religious, wars, and dogma,

For drown! Drown we must, in this sea, of ignorance
Our innocence, wrecked, so devoured by fear,
A commandment, a father of violence,
Spitting! Spewing! “Go forth, live by hatred!

Thus we’re forced-fed! Oh, with such bigotry
Not breathing respect! But choking, on this bitter law
Canonised, unrepentantly! In religious, indoctrination
Our beings, ensnared, misled, and bullied, oh so raw
Yet be patronised! To love and respect, our oppressors?

Free us children!
Feed the joys! Of intellectual, selfhood
Enlighten! ‘Freedom to question’
Protect us! From senseless, brainwashing

How, do we resist, the slaying of our trust, the deadly factions?
Oh how, can we stifle, these twisted flames, of fanaticism?
Must we nourish, our own childhood, our own affections?
Yet be patronised! To love and respect, our betrayers?

Free us children!
To live! Believing in others, so evade escapism
Enlighten! ‘Social skills, of communication’
Protect us! From the mania, of coercion

Do we seek, clear-sightedness, or submit, to blind-eyes?
Must we spurn, the art of query, this angel of confidence?
Should we be wise, or be spouting, the venom of lies?
Yet be patronised! To love and respect, our deceivers?

Free us children!
Energise! The purity, and sincerity, of our hearts
Enlighten! Creative, self-expression
Protect us! From demonic preaching

Oh yes! We earth children begin, with such gladness
But end up, day after day, with nauseating sadness
Nurturing our nature, unwittingly, undermined
Recognising our feelings, tirelessly, trivialised
Yet be patronised! To love and respect, our detractors?

Free us children!
Communicate! With our beings, not your gods
Enlighten! ‘Understanding’
Protect us! From evil fatalism, and egotistic, fantasies

Oh suffer us children, no more! Suffer us, no more!
With gods’, sexual duplicity, and sexist ferocity
Lurking behind, false frocks, and murky morality

Are, our baby faces, locks and smiles, so risible?
That they be, morphed, religiously invisible
Must a child’s, mere life, body and clothing?
Become the brunt, of cardinal deceit, and mockery?
Be responsible, for gratifying, carnal foibles, and treachery?
Yet be patronised! To love and respect, our tormentors?

Free us children!
Oh respect! Respect our dignity, and integrity
Enlighten! ‘Kindness and empathy’
Protect us! From wretchedness, and deviousness

Oh stop, the barbaric rituals, the daily intimidations,
The morbid fasting, the heinous, body mutilations
A wilful wickedness, crucifying, our sentient beings
Yet be patronised! To love and respect, our torturers?

Free us children!
Endow each child! With health and happiness
Enlighten! ‘Humanity’s wisdom’
Protect us! From the grim recycling, of pain, and misery

Oh reach out! Help us embrace, a love of learning!
With heads, hearts and minds, reconciled with trust!
Our nature to commune! With self and others, uplifted!
Our paths to the altar! Of self-autonomy, rejuvenated!
So gather these fruits! To merely, fortify our lives!

Free us children!
Invigorate! Our human potential, so abandon pessimism
Enlighten! ‘Self-belief, and reason’
Protect us! From self-destruction, and ignorance

Oh why? Why must us children, be burned in hell? So damned!
So painfully! So often! So literally! By fire! By bloody bullets!

So please! Oh please, shelve religion! To historical books,
Of aged tribalism, of sacrificed infants! Thus ordained!
To never fear! Our feelings and lives, bodies and ‘looks’

Hitherto a future! Shining with knowledge, by this tree
Of testing truth, guiding actions, speaking kindness
A life! Where fragile minds, be divinely, oh so free
The sanctuary! Of our growing bodies, oh, so sheltered
By tenderness, and security, wisdom, and sincerity

A life worthy! Of peace, of purpose, of compassion!
A life worthy! Of no more gods, or phantoms!
A life worthy! For each and every Child, oh so precious!
A willing triumph, of life, and love, truly nurtured

Oldfield, Brenda M

Free Our Children, From Materialism

Oh must this world, mutate our children?
Into mere, cold-blooded cogs,
Entrapped, unceasingly, in mass materialism
Sensations blasted, without relief,
On that assembly-line, of greedy, consumerism

Oh feel! The rhythm of young bodies, whipped
Into a frenzied noise, frothing, oh so mindlessly,
By some pre-historic, ritualistic, mindset, unequipped,
So deprived, of emotional, and rational unity

Oh see! The hounding, the pestering,
The overwhelming onslaught, to accumulate
And absorb, innumerable facts, oh so exactly,
In a factory, forging this gluttony, oh so beastly,
To forever guzzle, umpteen objects and things

Oh hear! Laughter and play, this stress-shield,
Sadly replaced, by force-feeding, such dopey ‘stuff’,
Pummelling, like clockwork, oh so forbidding
What is this process, of evolution, oh so foreboding?
Immersed in anxiety, and ignorance, of children’s needs

Oh weep! For little hearts and heads, unduly divided
Thinking and feelings, oh so cruelly, separated
In some, empty reservoir, of mind, and bodily needs

Seek there and find, the crippling emotions
Engulfing, poor health, eating identities, oh, so mistaken
Skills of empathy, of self-expression, oh, so forsaken
Resonating, some autistic, robotic enslavement

Remnants, perhaps, of a primitive melee,
Regurgitating minds, oh so splintered:
The signals of emotions, oh so, misunderstood
The repertoire, of language, so like, dead wood
Thinking stretched, above and beyond, reason

Such is the Old, Brave New World, of children
Happiness? Cursed, by aged alchemy, so mind-altering
Knowledge? Doomed, to be greedy, and so controlling

A self-defeating, self-medicating armoury
Of acting before thinking, reducing this bedrock,
Of relating, of communication,
To self-derision, and social isolation

So borne, by the predatory tools, of mechanisation
Begetting, a fatigue, an exponential, subversion
Of bonding, biological, and social connections
Evoking that ugly, dichotomy of nature, and nurture

Can we not, feel?
The sleep deprivation, the chronic tiredness!
Or hear, the mighty mantra?
“Education teaches, money, status and stuff

Can we not, see?
The celebrity, idolisation, the media treadmill!
This maelstrom, smelling
Of vanity, and violence, guns and drugs

Can a child, dream?
Fat wallets, big appetites, and delusions of grandeur!
Or touch?
Dysgenic knives, to mortify imperfections, so facile

Can a child, swallow whole?
That wearisome baggage,
Of man’s obsessions, and possessions!
Oh how, can a child grasp?
These grinding wheels, of tragedies, and trivia!

For therein, lurk shadows, oh so indelible,
To the lives of children, deceived, oh so defrauded,
By a rampant betrayal, of the power of knowledge
Where learning, and respect, is lauded
As fame, pride and greed

Could this not be, a dire failure, to recede?
Our children’s fears, and vulnerabilities
Threatening, their sincerity, and kindness,
Humility, love and goodness

Oh yes, knowledge, may be the means, the way
To cultivate, children’s health, and happiness
Yet, this wisdom, seems hidden, like gold-dust,
Unseen, by so many eyes, oh so careless

Might the world not weep?
For this blindness, this state of affairs,
Our babies blinded, by tears of deception
Their senses, silenced, into submission

So burrowed, in societies, by too many adults,
Indulgent, authoritarian, indifferent
Substituting, a caring, loving, environment
For insecurity, instability, and unpredictability
Lacking support, acceptance, and involvement

So cried! This modern handmaiden, of feral selfishness,
Let’s stand up, shout on rooftops, for our children
Left mourning, the joys of childhood, oh, so silently
Left shouldering, this world, oh, so relentlessly,
With over-pulsating hearts, and troubled minds

Let’s empower, our children, responsibly!
Pinned, to human empathy! Oh, so tenderly!
Listen! Oh just listen!

Can we children, cry forever, over man’s mistakes?
Oh must we, must we be born, inherently wise?
To mans’ trials, and tribulations, addictions, and disputes
Miseries forbidding us, to feel and think, rest and play

Listen up! New shamans, you masters of the world,
All bodies! Begin and learn! Indeed, necessitated,
Early! In childhood, in memories, so deeply-rooted!

Yet, must we forever, forgive, love, respect those, who?
Ignorantly, or spitefully! Neglect, belittle, and distort,
What we remember! What we feel! What we do!
Must we be left! Unsung! Unseen! Unheard?

Oh, will we ever, be free, us children?
Given health, not wealth, rising forth
By an understanding, of our needs
Enriched by a sense, of belonging
Wanted, cared for, in compassion

Remember! Oh remember!
The parentage, of humanity
Remains forever, us children

Oldfield, Brenda M

Free To Live, Us Children

Us children have a need
To be nurtured! By others
Thus we learn! To ‘nurture ourselves’
So we relate! To others
Free to live! In mutual respect

Us children have a need
To be raised! With love
Thus we learn! To ‘love ourselves’
So reflect! Humanity’s compassion
Free to live! Surrounded by love

Us children have a need
To be taught! To ‘think for ourselves’
Thus we learn! To ‘think before acting’
So we are mindful! Of our actions
Free to live! Harmoniously with all

Us children have a need
To be reared! With affection
Thus we learn! Feelings of tenderness
So empathise! With others
Free to live! Without judging

Us children have a need
To have our voices, heard!
Thus we learn! ‘How to listen’
So communicate! With skill
Free to live! Socially connected

Us children have a need
To be bestowed! With self-control, (not controlled)
Thus we learn! To ‘problem-solve’
So cope! With life’s blows
Free to live! Socially competent

Us children have a need
To be allowed! To freely play, laugh and read
Thus we learn! ‘How to learn’
So reach out! Towards the future
Free to live! By autonomy, and self-fulfilment

Us children have a need
To be cared for! Without stress and anxiety
Thus we learn! “The wisdom, of our bodies’
So protect us! From ‘ill-health’
Free to live! Without undue pain

Us children have a need
To be fostered! Without fear
Thus we learn! To repel hatred, and sadness
So treat others! With acceptance, and kindness
Free to live! Without bigotry and bullying

Us children have a need
To be brought up! With trust
Thus we learn! How to be honest
So see! ‘The best in others’
Free to live! With humble self-confidence

Us children have a need
To be tutored! By knowledge
Thus we learn! To seek wisdom of truth
So create! Human understanding
Free to live! Without vulnerabilities, and fear of the unknown

Us children have a need
To deny, the bullying, tactics! Of religion and materialism
Thus we learn! To humanise, not dehumanise
So form human bonds! Which are trusting and lasting
Free to live! Without threats and lies

Us children have a need
To live without abuse! Verbal, smacking or violence,
Thus we learn! Not to hurt, or humiliate others
Free to live! Without the tragic web, of self-destruction

Us children have a need
Never to be treated! As social rejects!
As monetary, and sexual objects!
Or status, and ‘honour’, accessories!
So hear our cries! “No more enslavement!”
Free to live! Surrounded, by comfort and safety

Us children have a need
To be recognised! Accepted! And understood!
Thus we learn! Not to feel alone, or be scared
Free to live! Without helplessness and fear of rejection

Us children have a need
To be parented! By those who chose,
To bring us, into this world, and who,
Can enrich our lives! With unconditional love!
Undivided attention! And freedom of choice!

Thus we learn! How to be responsible
Free to live! Without shouldering, the risible
Burdens, of man’s “Psycho-history”
Eclipsed only, by loving, and empathetic parenting

Us children cry! Not for an ideal world
But one effective, in shielding us!
From neglect, cruelty, and the mind games
Of unscrupulous, predation, and powers
From war and conflict, and its horrors

Rather, a socio-evolutionary world, where knowledge
Trumpets, brings to fruition, the joys and the gains,
The compassion, and the needs, so deeply enshrined
In nature and nurture! Of us children! Of all humankind!

Thus willingly, together, we can erase,
The ugliness, of lost childhoods, reflected in, but
Deeper than, man’s despair! So yes, we can liase!

Free to live, with cherished memories
Of a life of love, and our love of life