Monday, 3 August 2015

Very Important Small Person.

My son had those exact words emblazoned on a t-shirt when he was about 18 months or so. When I look back on that time I was often tired and at my wit's end dealing with a truculent toddler. Basically the experience of most parents I'd say but I do also remember the cuddles and bond we built that holds strong today despite him now being on the cusp of adulthood. I've been doing a spot of winnowing [sounds so much more prosaic than decluttering and I have shamelessly borrowed the term from an online buddy] these past few days and found these moving words in the process.

Beautiful Child

I get in the way- so you say-
I get under your feet. I get up your nose.
I'm so nice when I'm asleep.
But here I am now, wide awake and tied to you.
I want you to carry me when you walk,
To sit upon your lap when you talk.
I want you to notice me, "Give my your full face"
I need you.
And no, I won't ever stop
Unless you shame me, hurt me, terrify me,
Or do something else to check me.

I copy you, everything you do
I adore you-you are my god-
I trust you.
You must be right,
However, you treat me.

I want to help.
I break something. I lose something else.
I make a mess.
I care for you. Maybe you're afraid of the dark like me.
I squeeze in between the two of you.
I keep you awake when you want to sleep.
I don't understand your headaches
Your bad moods, your sarcasm.

I interrupt your meditation, your concentration, your linear world.
When you want me to go fast-
put my leg through the hole,
my foot in the shoe-
I go slow so I get more of you.
And when you want space of your own
I'm always ready to fill it.
I want to hang on to you, cosy up to you
To hit you, bite you and kiss you.
To look long at your face and play with your hair.
I want you.

Push me away and I hold on tighter.
I cling to you.
I won't play, I won't explore;
Maybe I'll lose you some more.
[And perhaps one day when you want me near you,
I'll be gone]

But for now, if I don't get you I'll be sad.
I'll be angry.
And if you won't allow my sadness and anger
My play will freeze, my joy will shrivel, my feelings will numb.
And my sadness and anger will go deep
To emerge later as a compulsion.
If you keep me apart from you, a part of me will die.

I mirror your pain and your joy and your hate-
I dance in your joy
And survive your pain;
Like an oyster I keep the sand of it
Out of even my own sight.
Though I might try I cannot be your Dad.
I cannot bear your pain for you.
I can only survive it at any cost.

I'm a child
A beautiful, wonderful
wondrous child.
A blessing for you from above.

If you let me I'll teach you wonder.
Oh but if you let me I'll teach you innocence.
How to dance and jump for joy.
How to be alive in the moment,
How to laugh, to sing, to cry, to be angry.
I'll teach you how to reclaim your inner child.
I'm not a tease, I'm not a pain
I'm not a brat, I'm not stupid
I'm not ugly, I'm not fat
I'm not an animal, I'm not sexy
I'm not maya.
I'm just a child
a beautiful, wonderful, wondrous child
And anything else you may think about me is all yours

Robery Housden, May 1995



  1. Winnowing is good! Love the picture and the poem xx

  2. I always find the poem very moving.