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2009 Poetry Theme Challenges

#22 Children and Childhood




The Winter festivals are rapidly approaching and we supposedly grown up humans ( I for one will never grow up) either are getting excited or wondering how to escape it all. So for this challenge you can either stay with the holidays or escape them entirely; but the subject is Children and Childhood, so on that note I trip back to my own childhood and Christmas when my Granda would read to me -

King John's Christmas

King John was not a good man -
He had his little ways.
And sometimes no one spoke to him
For days and days and days.
And men who came across him,
When walking in the town,
Gave him a supercilious stare,
Or passed with noses in the air -
And bad King John stood dumbly there,
Blushing beneath his crown.

King John was not a good man,
And no good friends had he.
He stayed in every afternoon ...
But no one came to tea.
And, round about December,
The cards upon his shelf
Which wished him lots of Christmas cheer,
And fortune in the coming year,
Were never from his near and dear,
But only from himself.

King John was not a good man,
Yet had his hopes and fears.
They'd given him no present now
For years and years and years.
But every year at Christmas,
While minstrels stood about,
Collecting tribute from the young
For all the songs they might have sung,
He stole away upstairs and hung
A hopeful stocking out.

King John was not a good man,
He lived his life aloof;
Alone he thought a message out
While climbing up the roof.
He wrote it down and propped it
Against the chimney stack:
"TO ALL AND SUNDRY -
NEAR AND FAR -
F. CHRISTMAS IN PARTICULAR."
And signed it not "Johannes R."
But very humbly, "JACK."

"I want some crackers,
And I want some candy;
I think a box of chocolates
Would come in handy;
I don't mind oranges,
I do like nuts!
And I SHOULD like a pocket-knife
That really cuts.
And, oh! Father Christmas, if you love me at all,
Bring me a big, red india-rubber ball!"

King John was not a good man -
He wrote this message out,
And gat him to his room again,
Descending by the spout.
And all that night he lay there,
A prey to hopes and fears.
"I think that's him a-coming now,
(Anxiety bedewed his brow.)
"He'll bring one present, anyhow -
The first I've had for years.

"Forget about the crackers,
And forget about the candy;
I'm sure a box of chocolates
Would never come in handy;
I don't like oranges,
I don't want nuts,
And I HAVE got a pocket-knife
That almost cuts.
But, oh! Father Christmas, if you love me at all,
Bring me a big, red india-rubber ball!"

King John was not a good man -
Next morning when the sun
Rose up to tell a waiting world
That Christmas had begun,
And people seized their stockings,
And opened them with glee,
And crackers, toys and games appeared,
And lips with sticky sweets were smeared,
King John said grimly:
"As I feared, Nothing again for me!"

"I did want crackers,
And I did want candy;
I know a box of chocolates
Would come in handy;
I do love oranges,
I did want nuts.
I haven't got a pocket-knife -
Not one that cuts.
And, oh! if Father Christmas had loved me at all,
He would have brought a big, red india-rubber ball!"

King John stood by the window,
And frowned to see below
The happy bands of boys and girls
All playing in the snow.
A while he stood there watching,
And envying them all...
When through the window big and red
There hurtled by his royal head,
And bounced and fell upon the bed,
An india-rubber ball!

AND OH, FATHER CHRISTMAS, MY BLESSINGS ON YOU FALL
FOR BRINGING HIM A BIG, RED INDIA-RUBBER BALL!


A.A. Milne

Happy Quilling and Season's Blessings to All

Jem
XXXX




Children and Childhood



Maryse Achong

That Certain Smile

Divena Collins

Looking Back
Wendy My Angel

Jem Farmer

Looking Back

Ryter Roethicle

Bon Noel
Christmas
Christmas Prayer
Grandads and Christmas



Maryse Achong

That Certain Smile

She's different from other kids; her smile
Tells of an inner grace, a beauty so
Profound and joyful, this child so precious.

A blessing her parents thought life precious,
Welcoming her arrival with a smile,
Knowing no matter what, they'd love her so.

And now people have heard her story so
They all recognize that she is precious
And everyone's affected by her smile.

An angel with a smile that's so precious.

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Divena Collins

Past Times

In a Village cottage garden
On a wooden bench by the wall.
A girl sat with her grandfather
Listening to stories, enthralled.

He filled up his pipe with `baccy`
Before his long stories began,
Lit it up, and had a few puffs
While holding the bowl in his hand.

He told some tales of long ago
Before his grandchild was born,
What the village looked like then,
It was fields, of wheat, and corn.

Of when he was a lad himself
When he worked in the fields,
He was so young, just turned ten,
To harvest, all autumn yields.

Times were very hard back then
Boots with holes, and wet feet
And after a long, hard days toil
Not much in the pot to eat.

The little girl and grandfather
Went back there hand, in hand,
She was with him in his story,
Felt the hardness of the land

Dear oh dear, but we did survive
If we hadn`t we wouldn`t have you
I blinked back a tear from my eye
"Oh grandad, I do love you too."

A few years have gone since then,
And grandad has since passed on,
In my mind, I still see that bench,
Where we chatted and both sat upon.



-----

Wendy My Angel

A little angel came to me while I was asleep.
And prayed by my bed, for my soul to keep
She said, dear Mummy, I will always be near,
But in my dreams, I had shed many a tear,
A long time ago, when she was taken from me,
Life wasn`t meant, for one as lovely as she,
But God needed angels in heaven above.
So he took her away the little angel, I loved.
Although I know she will be happy and free,
Her short life on earth, was not meant to be
I will always remember, every day of the year
Especially when the Christmas season is here,
Her spirit is with me, she`s here every day
An angel, who stands by my bedside to pray.



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Jem Farmer



Silver Angels

A winter world of magic greets a child
as they awaken from a night of dreams
and see Yule trees kissed by silver angels

Around the fire they sing like the angels
as the Goddess Mother bears the Sun Child
and the world can once again fill with dreams

. So precious are the distant childhood dreams
when we had the blessÚd sight of angels
and viewed the world with the eyes of a child

. A child's dreams are gifts from holy angels.

-----

Looking Back



Countryside walks, warm in our woolly hats,
birds singing in the hedgerow, our music,
houses in the distance sparkle with lights.

Dad creating a fuss over fairy lights,
while we make paper chains and party hats,
and radios crackle with festive music.

Carol singing in the Square, to recorded music,
dancing into the night beneath winter lights,
and sharing a kiss neath mistletoe hats.

Old hats nod to choral music in church lights



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Ryter Roethical

Bon Noel

Angels make no greater sound than a child
Who's happily singing carols at Christmas.
Indeed the most hardened person is beguiled
Certainly the least inclined to ever harass
For most natures protect the very young
Thinking those that don't are nought but dung.
Streets once blessed with these Angelic sounds
Have all placed carol singers out of bounds.
Now some schools with a similar frame of mind
Have banned all reference about the seasons joy
With certainly no mention of Mary's baby boy,
Yet in Malaysia these sounds was happy to find.
A non Christian country as happy as "well"
To wish a total stranger a "Bon Noel".



-----

Christmas (After Gibran)

She said to her beloved, Tell me about Christmas And he replied

Christmas is the time for children
But Christmas is also a time of greatness.
It not only the time of celebrating the birth of Christ
It is also a time of great love
And to others it's a time of great pain.
It is also a time of exchanging gifts and sharing
But it is also at this time more than ever we feel loss.
And is then more than ever the time can also feel most alone

It is a time when vows are made
Promises and gifts exchanged
Families meet and children exalt Santa
And see candlelight and cakes and hear carols sung
Sharing happiness that some think will last forever
But all too often it is replaced by darkness and memories.

But out of that darkness will come light
And from out of that light will come Hope
Then out of Hope, promises to share
And it is those promises that bring happiness.



-----

Christopher Robin's Christmas Prayer

Little boy kneels at the foot of the bed
Rubbing his eyes, all swollen and red.
In a hostel for homeless he starts to pray
Please Lord I know tomorrows your day
Dads lost his job and were out on the street
We've nothing to wear or put on our feet.

There's others far worse off than us I know
They're sleeping outside with nowhere to go.
They haven't been fed since you know when
But they're still your children every one of them
Some love you, or hate you, some know your around
Some praise you, or curse you, some never a sound.

Whatever, no matter, your supposed to love us
I don't want no trouble, I don't want no fuss
Please give us a day where we're all full and warm
A day full of loving, without any harm.
Hush, hush, whisper who dares
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.




-----

Grandads and Christmas

I look at my kids, kids and think; "Am I that old?
And then I think of my grandads.
Both of them were dead before I was 12.
And I am older than both of them were, now.

I remember Christmas's at Nanna W's
Grandad was bald and I used to sneak up
Behind his chair and play and touch his bald head
He would pretend he was angry
I wish he could pretend to be angry now.
Instead he was the first to go.
And I miss the smell of his pipe as he lit it
He always lit up as we were talking
And point it at me emphasising a something.
Funny how I can only remember him sitting
He had an armchair I never saw him out of.
I see him putting aside his large glass of Port
(He only drank it at Christmas)
And sticking a large wooden spill into the fire
Once alight he would put it to his pipe
Then in a few sucks it was drawing well
And we would carry on talking like two old mates.
Then one day he was taken to hospital
When he came home it was in a coffin
He was the first dead person I saw.

I used to go for long walks with grandad C
I would ask him about the war, how he'd lost a lung
We'd talk like two mates, not old and young
They gave him 20 years to live
He doubled it and beat them
But couldn't beat the Cancer of a Woodbine.
What would you like for Christmas
What is your dream? he asked
A Hornsby 00 railway was my reply
And that was what I got.

It was two weeks after Christmas before I could play with it
Twas too difficult was my father's stern remarks
And so he and Uncle Fred played with it
I watched them with longing looks
As they played and added to my railway
With information they gained from books.
Grandad came round to look when dad was at work
And saw me playing with his present
He saw how much joy he had given me
And I saw how much he was content.

The following Christmas
There was no Grandad to annoy
Or one to add rolling stock to my railroad
Cancer had claimed them both.
So much for Christmas.

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