Home | Poems | Plays | Short Stories | Essays | Children's Stories | Children's Poems | German | Photographs | Autism Appreciation | Contact

The Supreme Blossom


The child is father to the man.
- WILLIAM WORDSWORTH
Childhood

Teach me how to watch and talk
so that I may speak my mind,
show me where itís safe to walk
till the time that I will find
my own way with watchful eye:
take my hand and let me fly!

And Iíll take you up with me
to the sky, and while we soar
high above the world, youíll see
things youíve never seen before
as the clouds are rolling by:
take my hand and let me fly!


The Roots of Life

Nobody knows a flower's fashion,
can tell a blossom by the root;
we only get a vague impression
as soon as we can see the shoot.

Cast a warm summer with some showers,
and every little plant will thrive:
roots will bring forth all kinds of flowers,
and children are the roots of life!


Children's Day

On Mother's Day and Father's Day
you put us children on the spot -
we have to bring you gifts and say
we're grateful to you in every way,
whether you earned our thanks or not.

Would it not be the proper thing
to hold a Children's Day as well,
to thank us for the joy we bring
into your lives, the songs we sing,
the smiles we smile, the tales we tell?

We don't want much: an afternoon
spent at the venue of our choice,
a handmade present and a tune,
a cake and maybe a balloon -
a day on which we have a voice!


For Your Own Good

A lot of struggle and of strife
have brought you where you are today;
your kids deserve a better life
than you have had, that's what you say.

You want them to get As and Bs,
lined up like trophies on a shelf,
and all the opportunities
that you have never had yourself.

Their future starts right in the pram,
that's the unquestionable truth,
so if you want what's best for them,
give them a childhood and a youth!


Amongst Adults

We boredly watch your thighs and shopping bags
as you meet friends and neighbours on the street
and stop to chat while weíre supposed to stand
still and do nothing else than looking neat.

We try to get a glimpse of goings-on
around us from between your legs or stare
at handbags or the sky while you commence
to talk about us as if we werenít there.

After youíve waffled on for what appears
like hours to us, we sometimes pull your wrist,
your dress or coat to get away or just
to figure out whether we still exist.

When the ordeal at last is over, we
are quite relieved that finally we can go,
and as we trot beside you, weíre afraid
you may bump into someone else you know.


Beauty Interned

Divided according to colour and size
the violets rest in rectangular beds,
the neatly trimmed brier won many a prize,
beside the straight path marigolds lift their heads,
the rose bushes grow in an accurate line
where no butterfly ever sojourned,
the hedge shows that garden and flowers are mine:
we need to see Beauty interned!

Flamingoes pace up and pace down with clipped wings,
the stupefied tiger won't move in his cell,
the nightingale, chained to the perch, never sings,
the tortoise retracts in its leathery shell,
the gibbon hangs down from a bar on one leg,
then grabs all the nuts he has earned
and longs for the days he did not have to beg:
we need to see Beauty interned!

We silence their laughter and sneer at their grace,
we're holding their hands and we never let go,
we show them their limits, constricting their space:
Do this, Don't do that and Don't talk till you grow!
We're forcing our children who yearn to be free
to study the things we have learned
and become what we always desired to be:
we need to see Beauty interned!


Non-Verbal Children

I may not talk, but I still listen
to everything you say
about me when you talk to others
and understand okay.

I may not talk, so you should listen
to what I try to tell
you with my actions and expressions;
itís not that I rebel.

I may not talk, but if you teach me
to write or type, youíll be
surprised at all the wit and knowledge
you donít expect from me.


Waiting for the UFO

Let the other children play
in the yard, Iím off the boat;
since this world is not for me,
Iím content to stay remote.
Iíll be sitting on the roof
after supper in the gloam,
waiting for the UFO
that will come and take me home.

Do not pressure me to join
in their sports and learn their names,
for their sphere is not my sphere,
and their games are not my games.
Iíll be sitting on the roof
after supper in the gloam,
waiting for the UFO
that will come and take me home.

I forgot what life is like
where I came from and my past,
but my memíry shall be jogged
by returning there at last.
Iíll be sitting on the roof
after supper in the gloam,
waiting for the UFO
that will come and take me home.

(Inspired by a childhood memory of Tiffany Varro)


The Scream of Life

Often, in town and in the park,
in restaurants, in pubs and cafes,
we hear a baby's joyful crow
that means: It's great to be alive!

Not worrying about the future,
not knowing any petty problems,
bursting with life, the little baby
has every reason to rejoice.

And so the adults try to hush them:
Don't be a nuisance! Stop that noise!
Be quiet now, and don't annoy
the others with your happiness.


The Greatest Beauty

I have walked on the bridges of Venice,
I have seen an eagle take wing,
I have sailed on the rivers of Hamburg
and climbed Sligoís mountains in spring,
I have seen the colours of India
and tigers who live in the wild,
but nothing compares to the beauty
of the eyes of a happy child.


The Bad Example

As soon as you're speechless, you lift up your arm,
'Me dad's done the same, and't din't do me no harm!'

The blow of your hand, be it hard, be it slight,
just proves that you're stronger but not that you're right.

A thrashing, a clip on the ear - it's all one
and shows disrespect for your daughter or son.

A bomb can wipe out many millions of men -
do you think it was nice if it killed only ten?

'It was only a smack;' you may swim with the tide,
but the damage you've done is not on the outside.

You're proud that your child now obeys when you call;
your child is afraid, not judicious at all.

Your kids who are constantly scared by your paw
grow up with the knowledge: the fist is the law!

The parents of bullies, aggressive and wild,
you see more of the law than you see of your child.

Frustrated and angry, you'll moan before long,
'By Jesus and Mary, what have we done wrong?' -

You taught them that violence solves every row
and expect them to be peaceful citizens now?


Advice from a Grown-Up Child

I was sixteen when I was leaving school
and wanted to become a childcare worker;
my parents' plans for me were more ambitious,
and so I studied, but I didn't finish,
and then I studied something else and failed.
An unskilled job, a year on social welfare,
and finally I pulled myself together:
at twice sixteen I was a childcare worker.

I was sixteen, aspiring to be a writer,
and started novels, stories and the like;
my parents smiled and said it was all right
as long as I would not neglect my studies
in favour of my hobby - so I wrote,
wrote something else and something else again,
and never got a story finished. Then,
at twice sixteen, I pulled myself together,
and I became the poet that I am.

You may be able to delay their future,
you even may be able to enforce
their apathetic service for a lifetime,
but you will never manage to transfigure
your kids' identity with your ideas.

If ever I have children of my own,
and they decide that they'd become designers,
rock stars or presidents or astronauts,
I know for sure that I'll encourage them.


Wing Clippings

When you clip your childrenís wings,
cut them close and cut them tight,
even if they claim it stings,
otherwise they might take flight.

Should the wayward child rebel,
answer with a little smack;
best pull out the roots as well,
lest the feathers may grow back.


Lullaby for Pious Homes

'Mum, I can't sleep tonight because I fear
the old invisible man who's in my room
and watches everything I do, who'll hear
all things I whisper and who'll spell my doom,
who will come out to get me before long,
and who will burn me if I'm doing something wrong.'

'Oh darling, there's no need to be afraid
of God! I'm certain that he loves you still;
he'll only punish those who disobeyed,
but he'll reward all those who do his will.
You'll be in Paradise with him one day
if you do everything your priests and parents say.'


The Value of a Childhood

Childhood presents no second chances -
the children learn, as years pass by,
what parents teach them, and their childhood
remains unaltered till they die.
Whoíll heal the children who by rulebooks
rather than interest are beguiled?
What is the value of a childhood
and of the future of the child?

Think hard before you have them branded
by your own owner; try to see
that any dogma or religion
replaces their identity.
Think of the many brilliant spirits
indoctrination has defiled:
What is the value of a childhood
and of the future of the child?


Blessed Children

How blessed is the child who grows up without guilt,
who's not taught they were born in sin
and worthless without the blood that was spilt
by a god who is trying to win.

How blessed is the child who grows up without fear
of invisible creatures who trail
all their steps and provide many rules that aren't clear
and a hell for the people who fail.

How blessed is the child who grows up without hate,
who's not taught there's a god who dislikes
certain races, beliefs, all who tolerate
science, atheists, faggots and dykes.

How blessed is the child who grows up without pew,
a child whose own parents were freed:
if only all children were blessed like these few,
the world would be blessed indeed.


Adolescence

At the weekend the family goes to the lake
with their lunch boxes, soft drinks and snacks,
and the children spread out to play at the beach,
and the adults sit down and relax.

You wish you were either but know you are neither:
youíre invisible through and through,
and the ones most unlikely to understand
are the ones in the same boat as you.


© Frank L. Ludwig