Tag Archives: poem about children

Small Fry

 

Small Fry

We were small fry in a grown up world,
our dresses starched, our hair tight-curled
on a candlestick by mothers
who scrubbed the faces of small brothers
with fingers they had spit upon
to purge the dirt they’d lit upon.

We had no choice in any of this.
Nor in the neighbor lady’s kiss.
Sour and moldy though she might smell,
we pretended we loved it well.
So went the life in days gone by
so long as you were just small fry.

Now children pose for selfies and diss
the thought of an old lady’s kiss.
They refuse to  run through traces.
Don’t allow spit-scrubbed-at faces.
Skirts go unstarched, hair goes uncurled
now that children rule the world!

Fry is the WP prompt today.

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.”

Creative Pronunciation

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Creative Pronunciation

“I’m serial,” he used to say,
a child with lips stretched tight
and fists clenched in earnestness;
and then,”How ruve!” when we laughed.

His vocabulary was sophisticated
for a child of eight,
and yet childish in its imprecision.
One letter switched, or three,
can bring about the opposite of the effect intended.
“Possumbly” can put one’s whole argument
into question. “I mean maybe!”
make one’s firmest assertions laughable.

How staunchly we defend
the walls around our words, as though
corralling  them controls the world.
And yet we have so little control
over potentates
who bend them to their will.

Though we may know the sound of words,
we do not always know the truth of them.
Some trust the word itself to proclaim truth
despite the facts. Thus do certain words
seem to carry a power of their own. Religion.
Country. Safety. Patriotism. No matter what the deed,
declare it in defense of one of these,
and there are those who will believe you to speak truth.

There are those
who have the power of making words march
straight ahead in noble order while their truth lies low in camouflage.
We are so accustomed to what parades as reality
that we believe these staunch maneuverings,
listened to like an old radio play
or its newest replacement, the reality show.

They entertain us with the sound if not the depth of what they say:
creative pronouncements, slogans, sputterings,
until the truth of words dies out
and they are shells of words,
scattered upon the beach
for our collection,
put upon a shelf just for display.

Their center gone, they join an empty world
devoid of air and life.
No water to drink.
No meat of words to chew on.
Thus is the power of words
to feed us or to strip us of our world.
A child’s innocent mispronouncements,
or the false pronouncements of a fool.

The prompt today was seriousness.

Recognition

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Recognition

Filthy little urchin, dirty little boy—
who could tell from looking that you’d be such a joy?
We never would have chosen you by following our nose,
but when we scraped the dirt off and laundered all your clothes,
we recognized you as our own, devoid of dirt and grime,
and now that you are  family and with us all the time,
mud puddles still attract you. Dirt piles call your name.
But now it doesn’t matter. We love you all the same.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/filthy/

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

I Used to Eat Red

                                                                  I Used to Eat Red

daily life color108 (1)My sister Patti and I, posed by my older sister Betty.  Those are “the” cherry trees behind us. The fact that we were wearing dresses suggests we were just home from Sunday school and church, our souls bleached as white as our shoes and socks!

 I used to eat red
from backyard cherry trees,
weave yellow dandelions
into cowgirl ropes
to lariat my Cheyenne uncle.

I once watched dull writhing gold
snatched from a haystack by its tail,
held by a work boot
and stilled by the pitchfork of my dad
who cut me rattles while I didn’t watch.

 I felt white muslin bleached into my soul
on Sunday mornings in a hard rear pew,
God in my pinafore pocket
with a picture of Jesus
won from memorizing psalms.

But it was black I heard at midnight from my upstairs window––
the low of cattle from the stock pens

on the other side of town––
the long and lonely whine of diesels on the road
to the furthest countries of my mind.

Where I would walk
burnt sienna pathways
to hear green birds sing a jungle song,
gray gulls call an ocean song,
peacocks cry the moon

until I woke to shade-sliced yellow,
mourning doves still crooning midnight songs of Persia
as I heard morning
whistled from a meadowlark
half a block away.

And then,
my white soul in my shorts pocket,
plunging down the stairs to my backyard,
I used to eat red,
pick dandelions yellow.

 (This is a reworking of a poem from my book Prairie Moths.) The prompt today was to talk about our earliest childhood memories.  https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/childhood-revisited/

Upset Hat

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Upset Hat

It’s just a piece of cardboard rolled into a cone.
It really doesn’t make me look like a witchy crone.
I think it’s just a party hat—not really very scary.
It will not cause a single soul to commit hari-kari!

These masks are a formality– they really aren’t inspired,
but last year we liked our costumes ‘cause our grandmas both conspired
to make them more original, but this year just our dad
had time to help and so we know we’re looking kind of sad.

And after all his fussing and running out the door,
we find that all the candy’s gone and so we’re kind of sore.
They gave us bags of potato chips. They haven’t any candy.
And that is why our faces show that we’re not feeling dandy.

Don’t flip your lid, our papa said,
for you are better than that.
So I am trying to be cool…
It just upset my hat!

I used this prompt generator to generate the prompt “Upset Hat”  Try it it is fun! http://jennifernicholewells.blogspot.mx/2015/08/jnws-writing-photo-prompt-generator.html
http://jennifernicholewells.com/2015/08/13/topic-generator/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/breakdown/