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Monday, February 21, 2011

For a Nine-Year-Old

Caution: I have been told that this one is a real heart breaker.
I do have hope but that's not what this poem is about. I watch
my son and I can see the magic of childhood fading away. Soon
he will be an adolescent instead of a little boy. This makes me
both proud and sad.
I wrote this poem in response to "For a Five-Year-Old" by Fleur
Adcock. I have included both poems here in this blog. If you
want an uplifting or inspiration poem, keep looking. You won't
find that here.


For a Five-Year-Old
by Fleur Adcock

A snail is climbing up the window-sill into your room, after a
night of rain.
You call me in to see, and I explain that it would be unkind to
leave it there: it might crawl to the floor;
we must take care that no one squashes it.
You understand, and carry it outside, with careful hand, to eat
a daffodil.

I see, then, that a kind of faith prevails: your gentleness is
moulded still by words
from me, who have trapped mice and shot wild birds,
from me, who drowned your kittens,
who betrayed your closest relatives,
and who purveyed the harshest kind of truth to many another.
But that is how things are: I am your mother, and we are kind to
snails.


For a Nine-Year-Old
by Angela C. Orlando

You wake up on a cold and dreary day with gloom in your heart.
"Why do I have to go to school," you moan.
I assure you that everything will be fine.
Then I wrap you in a coat, and scarf and shove you out the door.

You are not five anymore.
Your world is no longer filled with sunshine rainbows and four
leaf clovers.
You no longer awaken bursting with happiness just to be alive.
Naivety has disappeared as you've grown to learn the world is a
scary place.

You are nine-years-old now.
You hate school because it's boring.
You are frustrated by dumb rules on the playground.
You've been hurt by bullies who are bigger than you.
You've been teased by classmates for no reason at all.

You are nine-years-old now.
You don't believe in holiday magic.
You know that big happy bunny is just a guy in a costume.
You know the money under your pillow is really from me.
You won't even consider sitting on Santa's lap for a picture.

You are nine-years-old now.
You know about anger, hate and betrayal.
You have learned that bad things happen to good people.
You now know what lock-down drills are really for.
You ask hard questions about war and terrorism.

You are nine-years-old now.
You know that men sometimes beat up women.
You've felt the pain of having your family ripped apart by
divorce.
You know that beloved family members can commit suicide.
You know that mothers can become grossly disabled by cruel
diseases.

You are nine-years-old now.
I am your mother and you know that I have lied to you.
Every time I tell you that it will be okay, you know I am lying.
It will never be okay again because you are now aware.

Angela C. Orlando
February 2011

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