Category Archives: Poems about children

Scraps of Her

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Scraps of Her

She was the glitter
in our all-too-literal lives.
She left a trail of it,
our littlest fairy. 
It was the dust of her,
like that perfume half
school glue and half strawberries.
All these little paths she created in our lives—
the silliness and dainty nylon net of her,
with sand spilling from her overall pockets
and shed-off Barbie Doll parts left like
clues: one tiny shoe, a pink plastic door
from her convertible.

These small reminders once filled our house
and some of them remained when she no longer did.
We find them like the droppings of her 
in infrequently visited drawers,
the corners of cupboards 
and the hidden pockets of the sofa.

I find her signs as I empty vacuum cleaner bags—
a tail of glitter through the dust that, unaware,
she left like breadcrumbs through the forest of our memories.

Little girl.  All grown up.
Off in a different world
that is like a new game of her own concocting,
this house a scrapbook
we would never choose to remove her from.

The prompt today was “glitter.”

Relax Redux: Empty Nest

Tonight, one of my favorite blogs, written by Carol and titled “Relax,” published a poem that begins with the lines:

Tonight, I am missing
all half-grown kissing
–oh! I meant kittens—
an orange one, Mittens,

(HERE is a link to her entire poem.)

I, however, loved the original typo (or contrived typo) and challenged her to make a poem starting from it and remaining with that idea.  I promised to do so myself, and have, hoping she won’t mind my stealing my version of her first line.  Here is mine:

Empty Nest

I’ve been missing
that half-grown kissing
that lasts a minute
with chocolate in it.
Runny noses.
Heads of roses
picked off stems
like rarest gems
presented in
a tuna tin.
Priceless treasure
for my pleasure.

My life lacks
these loving smacks––
even a quickie,
albeit sticky
with peanut butter.
A parting stutter,
and then they’re gone
and off upon
adventures new,
away from you,
taking their kisses
to other misses.

I’m awaiting hers.  Are you up to meeting the challenge, Carol?

Nativity

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Nativity

It was some day, that day when light came into my world.
Reaching out my arms and legs as they came uncurled,
so many lovely colors bursting into sight.
All this brilliant pigment where formerly was night.

All the parts familiar still attached to me—
my ankle and my navel, my elbow and my knee.
But no longer together, curled into one tight ball.
I never knew that I could be so wide and tall.

Stretching out to fill this square I wonder when
I will be forgetting the curved world I’ve been in.
My mother now beside me instead of all around.
At other times she’s simply nowhere to be found.

My father’s arms around me—arms brand new to me.
All the other others coming to see what I may be.
Scratchy things now touch me—dry things and things with fluff.
Everything a new thing until I’ve had enough.

Then I find my power and make some kind of noise.
Soon I’m joined by other infant girls and boys,
and the whole room fills with sounds of our distress.
Very satisfying, I fear I must confess.

The nurses all come running, the fathers and the sisters.
The orderlies and doctors, the misses and the misters.
And when they lift us up, each one in different arms,
all our cries desist as they cater to our charms.

“Some day,” they’ve been saying, and now we are all here—
a fresh new crop of humans arrived for them to rear.
Once more we exercise our lungs and make each father cower.
Fresh to this new world, we have already found our power.

The prompt today was someday.

Wish List of a Youngest Daughter


Wish List of a Youngest Daughter

Off and on, I’ve been wishing
my dad and I could go fishing.
I guess my sister could go along
so long as she does nothing wrong
like catch a fish bigger than mine
or tease or hum or brag or whine.

Perhaps she’ll sit back in the bed
and not up in the cab instead,
so Dad and I can be alone—
the truck a sort of “private zone.”
He’ll hit the bumps real hard so she
will wish she was in front with me.

Just like I always pray and pray
her friends and she will let me stay
with them, when they come for the night
and play without me, door shut tight.
Marvelous fun had down the hall,
but not with me.  I am too small.

That’s why, when Dad tells me a joke,
I’ll laugh real loud until I choke;
and my sister, sitting there behind
might feel left out, but I don’t mind.
And when we get to where we’re going,
to the stock dam, cattle lowing,

Dad will bait my hook for me
and sister, too, and then we’ll see
who will catch the biggest fish.
I guess it’s obvious that my wish
is that I’ll catch the biggest one,
and sister will go home with none!

The prompt today is “Fishing.”

Big, Big World: WP Daily Prompt, Nov 5, 2016

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Big, Big World

Remember when your world was new
how in the world surrounding you
everything seemed bigger then?
It often seems that way again
when we see things nostalgically,
for memory boosts them mightily.
Our mother’s lap or father’s knee
becomes a world–a rolling sea
as we remember rocking there—
a child traveling in their care.

The rooms of childhood were immense,
and all the traumas more intense.
Curtailed play and spilled ice creams
were tragedies expressed by screams.
Time stretched out like a highway then,
however short time might have been
for parents, who saw us grow up quickly.
Time surrounded us more thickly.

The days of summer passed so slow
from sunrise up to candle glow.
Voices echoed in failing light
as we took that last long flight
down the road from England’s hill.
It seemed to last for hours until
we reached the bottom and pedaled home
under that vast dimming dome
that soon the starlight would fill in
until the slow sun rose again.

The night was darker and longer then,
as we contemplated sin
that our prayers brought to mind,
and that inevitably would wind
into our dreams to swell and swell
until they became a hell—
our terrors spreading in the night
until our moms turned on the light,
still maintaining they weren’t there at all
as they followed her back down the hall.

All things were large when we were small–
those tiny cuts, that minor fall.
A childish spat heartbreaking when
you could have been where they were then
but couldn’t because you’d had a fight.
and they were wrong and you were right!

And though  rage hadn’t lasted long,
they had to say that they were wrong!
And so you sobbed and fussed and pouted,
while outside, the others shouted
gleefully from swings and slide.
The pain more than you could abide.

When we were eight or six or three,
the whole world was hyperbole.
And now that we are fully grown,
living free and on our own,
hopefully we’ve learned to season
ire with pardon, dreams with reason.
And before it all blows up,
let us hope the world grows up!

The prompt today is “hyperbole

Let’s Pretend

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Let’s Pretend

“Let’s pretend,” the children say,
as they hurry off to play.
But that same action has often blown
up in the face of those full-grown.
Escape is easier these days
with all the various means and ways
we have to skirt reality
by what we listen to and see.

On television or movie screen,
we might pretend that what we’ve seen
is more reality than fact,
until we find that we react
so vividly to what is fiction
that it becomes a real addiction
that deflects our full attention
from that we do not dare to mention.

Escape increasingly is sought––
deflecting us from what we ought
really to be dealing with.
Instead of truth, we choose the myth.
Global warming, poverty,
Isis, the disparity
between the classes and the use
of meth and alcohol abuse.

Children wielding guns because
it is what every game now does.
Adults displaying their frustration
at our society’s obfuscation
of the truth of what goes on
in a society gone wrong.
Wealth governs us then shields us from
how far from truth we’ve really come.

We watch pretty fantasies
that entertain or shock or please
filling us with false elation
that is not of our own creation.
So life becomes vicarious,
distracting us from various
problems where we might have acted
if we had not been distracted

by the gross banality
passing for reality
of made-up people who act and preen
on TV or computer screen.
There’s something to be said, you see
in favor of reality
when dealing with the painful facts
of what it is one’s own life lacks.

The prompt word today was “pretend.”

God’s Assembly Place

God’s Assembly Place

Leaving the Masons’ Lodge behind,
there was Mrs. Shimer’s cool dark little house
and the grade school slides to pass,
then spirea bushes to pull the petals from
before I reached the mysterious brick church
nestled in trees across from the lumber yard.

The sign said “Assembly of God.”
Everyone else said, “holy rollers and speakers in tongues,”
but they threw the best Bible school of the summer.
My mom let me attend them all: Lutheran,
Community Bible, Seven Day Adventist, Assembly of God
and our own Church––Methodist.

The Community Bible Church called us Jet Cadets
who made progress through the skies
by attendance and memorizing Bible verses.
The Methodists had the best art supplies,
but the Assembly of God
had that aura of mystery–
as though God had assembled us all there for a special purpose.

Because I had heard what went on there
when I wasn’t present,
I was the Nancy Drew of vacation Bible school,
looking fruitlessly for clues
as I made do with Kool Aid,
peanut butter cookies and
mimeographed pictures of Bible stories to color.

Then every day, the short walk home again
through that bridal path of spilled spirea blossoms,
with faith that tomorrow
religion just might turn into that great adventure
that I knew I was born to.

Thanks Whimsygizmo for leading me to this prompt with your wonderful poem. Readers, if you want to participate in the Writer’s Digest prompts, find them here:
Poetic Asides