Saturday, 12 May 2012

What does it mean to be a child?

 School children enjoying their uniforms in Tanzania,
Photo © World Vision New Zealand 2012

Every child living life in all its fullness,
But what does that even mean?
A child in all their usefulness,
Living in a world that's healthy and green?

Or maybe it refers to their belly,
And the fact some look so lean,
But we can't blame the parents really,
When the rain just hasn't been.

Because just as importantly,
This is one we can achieve.
We can see a world that's hungerfree,
If we only work and believe.

Perhaps it's also about education,
To help them rise above?
Could this be the key to their emancipation,
And help them to fly like a dove?

What about those held in servitude,
How can we help their cause?
We can draw attention to their multitude,
And work to end all wars.

But really the key to the phrase,
Is a child must be a child,
Able to grow through that phase,
Running and playing and wild.

I finished this piece for the dVerse Poets pub weekly poetics challenge where you are given a key word, phrase or idea and encouraged to write a piece.

The challenge this week was to celebrate Maurice Sendaks life - the author of children's book 'Where the Wild Things Are' - and because I work for World Vision, an international humanitarian organisation that focuses on children, I decided to look at our mission statement and see what it means for the life of a child.

It goes: "Our will for every child: life in all its fullness. Our prayer for every heart: the will to make it so."

I know this only loosely relates to the topic but as Maurice Sendak was someone who obviously cared a lot about children I think he'll understand ;-)

Any comments really appreciated!


  1. I LOVE how you took the prompt, the wonderful tale, and used to write with the voice of activism. I think this really relates to the prompt, and so pleased you choose to approach in such a way...oh...and welcome to dVerse! :)

  2. I like the last stanza...very meaningful approach on the prompt. It saddens me when children are robbed of this playful time of their lives ~

    Nice to meet you at D'verse ~

  3. i so agree a child must be a child...we have far too many that have to become adults way too early...i think education is important in helping them rise above circumstance...and we must strive to give them the opportunity...great to have you in the pub!

  4. i'm glad you're speaking for them...they surely should have the right to have a childhood...and many just don't have and don't have a chance to learn to read and write as well.. we're supporting a children's home in india and it's great to see how the kids find a new place to escape the streets and find their way in life

  5. Excellent twist on the prompt,and I don't agree that this 'only loosely' links to the topic, Mauirce Sendak wanted to bring joy to children everywhere and that's what your cause seems to attempt - along with many other things.
    Truly wonderful poem!
    Thank you for joining the wild rumpus!

  6. Your words are so soft yet pack a powerful whack that reminds us that the work of justice is never done. Being awake to our own freedom must involve the freedom of others and being always aware when and where injustice occurs. There might just might have to be certain things must be in place for true freedom to arise, and your poem reminds us so well of what they are.

  7. Being a mom... I truly felt this in my heart. It saddens me when children have to suffer. This is definitly a worthy cause and I thank you for speaking out for them.

  8. Thanks for all the comments, I really appreciate the feedback!

    And I agree I think poems can be a great artistic way of getting important messages across.

    All I hope is this poem makes people think, and hopefully that leads to action.