Day: Jun 25, 2014

The Ballad of Little Nate [poem]

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When Nathan D. was just a little boy
his parents tried out every ploy they could
to stop him touching fires and stoves.
But everywhere he went, his little hands
would reach out roving for some burns.
They thought he’d never learn to do
what’s right (as right was, in their view).
Forever putting hands on red hot things
(desiring as they did to keep their son
on tightly tied-up apron strings)
they soon assumed he was a special
psychiatric case and would, if things
continued as they were, bring on the family
ignominy and neighbourhood disgrace.

One day, young Nate had looked them frankly
in the eyes and asked them straightly why
they thought they had the right to censor
what he does in life. They said that it’s
“because we are your parents and
your parents know what’s best for you.”
“You don’t at all”, said little Nate, as they,
astonished, heard their own son say to them:
“I’ve put you to the test. The day has come
for full disclosure of the rest of what I’ve tried
to say for years, but hadn’t had the go-ahead.”
“Never once”, the little boy went blithely on,
“have you directly asked me why I love to
suffer burns and other kinds of bitter pains.
You just assume it’s a mistake or wrong —
as if I’m likened to you as a broken song —
though lately you’ve begun to think I’m mad or
something’s programmed badly in my brain.”

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