Tag Archives: poem about kids

Stay of Execution


Pardon by Way of a Higher Power

There was  a stay of execution, and the prisoner was relieved.
The executioner, in a turmoil, was sorely aggrieved.
If he couldn’t fire incessantly, it put him off his game.
And yet he couldn’t argue with the one who was to blame.
Sometimes it was the law that won, and sometimes the sinner.
He cut his prisoner free and then shuffled off to dinner.
“Does Jimmy want to stay to eat?” his mom was heard to say,
“I can call his mom to ask her, if he wants to stay.”
But the sheriff told his mom that since he wasn’t ichthyophagous,
a tuna sandwich wouldn’t make it past his friend’s esophagus!

Prompt words today are stay, incessant, ichthyophagous, turmoil and game. What travesties of plot these prompts sometimes force upon us!!!

People Talk

People Talk

“Precocious,” said the neighbor lady, talking about me.
And so I grabbed the dictionary, perched it on my knee,
intent upon my purpose, concentrating on my need
to know the meaning of the word, although I couldn’t read.

At three years old, another neighbor said that I was sweet.
I licked my arm, thinking that I might be good to eat,
but I tasted of my modeling clay, and I began to choke.
I figured out his comment was something of a joke.

My crazy older brother used to call me “out of sight”
when at the dinner table—in daylight, not at night.
The space between us was not much. Why couldn’t he see
this person in her rightful place was obviously me?

At four years old, I know a lot: numbers, letters, words.
What to call the insects. The names for all the birds.
I listen when they talk to me from grass or tree or fence.
It’s only human animals that often don’t make sense!

Prompt words for today are space, precocious, sweet, rightful and purpose.

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them

Click on photos to enlarge. All photos used with permission from Unsplash.

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them
(For Greta Thunberg)

When it comes to children, upper classes can be haughty.
Even normal kid stuff they consider to be naughty.
They send them off to private school to simplify their keep
and their favorite time when they are home is when they are asleep.

The words and thoughts of children are rarely heard at table,
for it might upset the apple cart if they were only able
to introduce hot topics like the way this world is headed.
But, alas, they’re fed and watered and then promptly bedded

without asking what they’re thinking and of course they don’t insist.
They’re patted and they’re smiled at and they’re talked at and they’re kissed,
but their parents don’t consider how they are dissembling
and it’s their children’s future that they are disassembling.

Trashing up the oceans, melting the North Pole,
ruining the air with oil and gas and coal—
it’s the parents who are unruly and should be sent to bed
to see if kids could run things better in their stead.

 

Prompt words today are cart, asleep, hot, word and naughty. Photos from unsplash.

The Prize

 

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The Prize

Our weekends at the cabin were vacations we adored,
for our grandpa and our grandma made sure that we weren’t bored.
Every single Saturday, they sent us on a quest.
I always set out on my own for I feared that the rest
would take credit for the fact that I’d found the strangest thing
that our grandparents had set the task for each of us to bring.

Those times out on my own were a relief from the noise
from all the squealing little girls and all the shouting boys,
for the numbers of my cousins— all those brothers and those sisters—
pounded on my eardrums ’til I feared that they’d make blisters.
I hated all the folderol, for I preferred the calm.
The quiet sounds of nature acted as a balm.

The whispering of treetops and the music of the loons
were a contrast to the cowboy movies and the Looney tunes
streaming from the playroom where the television
was another thing that prompted my decision
that I could best seek treasure on a solitary search,

and, indeed, I found it in the shadows of a birch—

an eye that looked out at me from the darkness and the gloom
like the only thing alive within a haunted room.
I freed it with my pocketknife—too large for my pocket.
Too large for grandpa’s “thing” box, let alone for grandma’s locket.
What is it? I’m not going to tell where I found the eyes
one of which won me that week’s treasure prize!

 

Prompt words today are calm, cabin, quest, hate.
I’m also including my photo for the What is it? prompt.

Hard Knocks

Hard Knocks

That first triumphant journey of a toddler on a trike
predicts his future conquering of a two-wheel bike.
Despite his mom’s temptation to grab his overalls
to whisk him off from crisis and save him from his falls,
nothing can be gained from this. He needs to face his spills.
Part of education is dealing with the ills
that he’ll be called upon to deal with in his future life.
We cannot live our children’s lives or guarantee no strife.

 

Prompt words today are nothing, crisis, temptation, triumph and bike.

Reined-in Adventures

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Reined-in Adventure

My first mount was a hobbyhorse, I’d ride him up and down
all around the basement, if not around the town.
In summer we would come outside and ride along the walk
that my sister used for hopscotch–all scribbled up with chalk.

With reins clipped to his harness, I maintained a healthy clip.
Careful over sidewalk grooves, avoiding every dip.
Never did he tarry as we hurried on our way,
for when we reached our destination, I would feed him straw and hay.

Then, being very hungry after my vigorous ride,
I’d put away my pony before I went inside
and I’d become the pony and my mother would feed me
carrot sticks and cabbage hay, sitting on Daddy’s knee.

I’d whinny with each forkful. I’d toss my head, then prance
upstairs to my nap to dream of England and of France
where policemen still rode horses along the city streets,
racing after robbers and other heroic feats.

And in my dreams, my horse and I would have a glorious ride
more dangerous than earlier rides we had had inside.
Charging after bandits, fording rivers and
forsaking backyard sidewalks for dirt and stone and sand.

We’d clamber up steep mountainsides to try to find a pass,
then kick up rocks while sliding down to sail through fields of grass.
We’d conquer all the beaches, then roll through fields of clover,
having wilder adventures until my nap was over.

Prompt words for today are hobbyhorse, harness, groovy, tarry and straw.

Interlopers

Click on first photo to enlarge all.

“I don’t know that there are real ghosts and goblins, but there are always more trick-or-treaters than neighborhood kids.”     —Robert Brault

Interlopers

They watch the clock, waiting for dark,
impatient for their All-souls lark.
Small ghosts and goblins screech and moan,
their ghastly act to finely hone.
“Eye of newt and toe of frog,”
Mother prompts, as off they jog—
little witches in Walmart capes
with itchy tags upon their napes.

Meanwhile, other ghastly things
soar in on brooms, flap in on wings.
They’ve found that yearly secret door
under the earth, under the floor,
and creaked it open. Joining the flood
who lust for treats, they lust for blood.
Who among us might ace the task
of sorting countenance from mask?

That little vampire, newly gone—
was his blood real or painted on?
“Double double toil and trouble,
cauldron boil and cauldron bubble.”
Were those lines recently rehearsed
or are these witches instead well-versed
in brewing up a recipe
of wing of gnat and eye of bee?

Which ghoulies real and which ones playing?
Which ones begging? Which ones preying?
What other night of any year
do we open doors, devoid of fear
for such strange beings? Who thinks of this—
Hershey’s kisses or vampire’s kiss?
A silly poem. When small ghosts boo, they
offer no real threat. Or do they?

 

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Prompts for today are the secret door, adage, screech, treat and clock. Since one of the prompt words was “adage,” rather than use the actual word in the poem, I used a quote (an adage of sorts) by Robert Brault as inspiration for this poem.

Rubber Boots

Rubber Boots

All the flowers are crying, their petals streaming drops
inherited from rivers flooding over troughs
running up above them, collecting all the streams
that run down the roof top and across the beams.

The rainfall is most copious. It kisses windowpanes
with countless fractured raindrops, each falling where it deigns.
If this were not a school day, I’d run about outside.
This staying inside looking I cannot abide.

I’d rather splash in puddles, damming off the flood
with my rubber rain boots, crushing down the mud
to form private embankments to stem the rushing tide.
What an unfair punishment, this keeping me inside.

Reading, maths and spelling cannot hold my attention,
for I have these new rubber boots I am driven to mention.
I can’t wait ’til recess so I can try them out,
for in rainy weather, splashing’s what it’s about!!!!

 

Prompts today are “a flower cried,school, crush, copious and kiss.

Photo Credits: Red boots by Rupert Brooks , blue boots by markus Spiske, both on Unsplash, used with permission.

Hop Scotch (Don’t Worry. Be Happy!)

                       Click on photos to enlarge.

 

                                  Hop
Scotch

                      “How green is blue?” the child asks,
“What is the taste of pink?”

                        A prodigy koan-master
 with a novel way to think,
                        such problems keep a child’s mind
engaged in matters other
                         than all the daily problems
of a father or a mother. 

                         No spider ever stumbles
when spinning out her strands,
                         for the feet she walks around on
are really only hands.

                         No specter of a problem
ever plagues a goat.

                          He simply feeds upon the world
and lives his life by rote.

                       And so it is with children.
They go from thing to thing

                      with no worries of the outcomes
that their acts might bring.

                       They leave to human adults
the worries of such things

                        and simply live with pleasures
that every new day brings.

Prompts for today are “How green is blue?spider, stumble, specter and goat.

Teaching Our Kids to be Violent

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Teaching Our Kids to Be Violent

I’m in a very busy outside restaurant on the plaza in La Manzanilla, Mexico.  To the front and side of me are two long tables filled with 13 adults, children and teens who seem to be members of the same family.  When I first entered, the littlest girl in the family was sitting on the lap of her auntie or her mom, mugging for “sorta selfies” taken by her mom/auntie who was using some app to horribly distort the photos.  All were laughing uproarously at the monstrous images.

Then the child moved to the end of the table, where someone had removed the long cellophane-plumed toothpicks that had held their sandwiches together. Grabbing two of the toothpicks, she proceeded to jab the pointed end of one of them into the arm of one of the young women at the table. 

Waiting for chastisement, I was sorely disappointed, as what I imagine to be an auntie giggled and then grabbed the other toothpick and jabbed her back. Back and forth they went, all of the adults at the table smiling and laughing as though it was the most adorable little performance in the world.  In time, the child went down the table, jabbing with more enthusiasm each time, moving to the other table where eventually she jabbed so violently that the adult slapped her.  She slapped the adult back and a slapping match ensued.  Everyone watched, smiling, giggling. Such an adorable child! 

She moved away from the slapping match and sneaked up on a more elderly member of the party, approaching her from behind to take a hard jab with the point of the toothpick into the flesh of the woman’s upper arm.  The woman jerked away in surprise, slapping at the arm as though she believed it to be a wasp or bee sting.  This brought great peals of laughter from the other table and the child returned to it to take her bows.  

At no point in this crazy string of behavior did any adult ever censure the child or display any emotion other than enjoyment and approbation. I, on the other hand, was totally horrified.  What they were teaching the child was fairly obvious.  They  were well-dressed and sophisticated-looking, modernly dressed—like city folk come to the beach who didn’t actually want to get sand between their toes.  The voices of the seeming other half of their party at the nearby table were louder than theirs—very loud, in fact, to the point that even some Mexican customers accustomed to the general noise of Mexico were glancing over in surprise. But the table where the child sat seemed more refined–in the level of their voices if not in their surprising acceptance of the increasing violence of the formerly angelic-looking little girl.

Was she the heir to a vast cartel empire? Was this part of her education in ruthlessness? Was their glee at her monstrous appearance on the smart phone just a hint of the monster child they would raise to carry on the family business?  As most scenarios begun in restaurants and other public places, this is a story whose ending I will never know. I leave it to your imagination to come up with an ending for yourself.

But I could not help seeing it as a small metaphor for the violence in films and games and sports entertainment that our kids are submerged in every day.  It seems as though movies and TV are resorting to ever more violent and extreme cruelties to keep our interest. War and murder are not enough. Sadistic twists and torture are called upon to keep the audiences and thereby swell the coffers of production companies and advertisers.

Years ago when violence first reared its ugly head on TV, we were told that it was a fantasy that would have no effect on children, but if we look at the world around us, I think this is an assertion that has been proven to be false. As some in our society grow ever more affluent, we grow increasing more dependent on entertainment to distract us from the reality around us, and part of that reality seems, sadly, to be that we are teaching our kids to be more violent.

 

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