Saturday, 7 October 2017

Everything I Have Learnt About Children - a poem

A child is a kind of vegetable with deep roots you cannot pull out.
It changes the pH balance in the soil, thrives in shade or sunshine, needs frequent watering and takes over your whole garden
Unless you pot it; in which case it will take over your whole house.
A child can easily be identified by its leafy fronds and distinctive colouration.

A child is a species of invertebrates that snuffles and croaks and is covered in short silver hairs, with skin the colour of hot velvet. They make their home in your arms and live a parasitic existence drinking sap and laughter and blinking with idiotic wonder at your nose or a lampshade or the carpet.

A child is a controlled substance under Class A of the controlled substances act
Illegal to purchase but easily available from encounters at street corners or meetings with disreputable midwives.
The effect is a long-lived ecstatic high characterised by contentment and no longer giving two shits about more or less anything else.
Side-effects include sleepleeness, back pain, hormonal changes, retreat from social life, financial ruination and irreversible addiction.
Children can be smoked or injected and are available in the form of a pill.

A child is a coin,
Heads and tails both possible outcomes, tumbling midair and catching the light in flash after flash of silver as it emerges from your palm,
A bravura sleight of hand trick that surprises everyone, no-one more than yourself,
And the coin always spinning and never coming to rest.

A child is a monumental, twelve pint and a Milwall t-shirt dickhead
A perpetual end-stage rageaholic dickhead
As drunk as a student and as thick and angry as an emu or an ostrich or another enormous flightless shithead
And its just as well they're too tiny to drive cars or operate forklifts or other violent machinery
And I'm not saying I've got anything against them but
I read how they lower house prices and always send their money abroad
And you wouldn't be happy if your dog married one
Would you?

A child is an ash tree,
An inevitable presence in any garden left untended for more than a minute,
Growing so rapidly and so stealthily you could swear you just turned your back during a picnic to pick up a tub of Marks and Spencers flapjacks and there it is, a tall reed of a tree
Sneaking up between the fir and the buddleia,
Half bashful,
Half full of lip.

A child is the future winking at you with charm
And with threats, and you realise
One day the child will be older, which means you will be older, and the world will be older,
And the child who will be an older child will run through a door, maybe the same
Older door or another older door in the same
Older world and look at this new, older you
And they won't believe and certainly won't understand that the world was younger
Once and things were different once,
And the child will run by riding the hurricane of passing time
And laughing as if all this is normal.

A child is a prime opportunity to create new synonyms for taking a shit, and I urge you to be creative.
For example: "Dear God,
The baby has taken off her nappy and given the opening speech of the Conservative party conference all over that nice suede armchair we got from your mother."

A child is almost certainly plotting something and probably up to no good
But this will make you proud because after all
The world needs cunning people who will steal fire, talk truth to power,
And get the better of all the other scheming bastards out there.

A child is a thin, balloon-like skin filled entirely with snot.

A child, like a wizard, is never late. Neither are they early.
They arrive precisely when they mean to.

A child does not enter into negotiations.

A child will ruin your life
And it is the best thing that will ever happen to you.

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