"People from a planet without flowers
would think we must be mad with joy the whole time
to have such things about us."
~Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

Monday, May 14, 2012

Does Mr. Collins know my Grandson?

Child Development

As sure as prehistoric fish grew legs
and sauntered off the beaches into forests
working up some irregular verbs for their
first conversation, so three-year-old children
enter the phase of name-calling.

Every day a new one arrives and is added
to the repertoire. You Dumb Goopyhead,
You Big Sewerface, You Poop-on-the-Floor
(a kind of Navaho ring to that one)
they yell from knee level, their little mugs
flushed with challenge.
Nothing Samuel Johnson would bother tossing out
in a pub, but then the toddlers are not trying
to devastate some fatuous Enlightenment hack.

They are just tormenting their fellow squirts
or going after the attention of the giants
way up there with their cocktails and bad breath
talking baritone nonsense to other giants,
waiting to call them names after thanking
them for the lovely party and hearing the door close.

The mature save their hothead invective
for things: an errant hammer, tire chains,
or receding trains missed by seconds,
though they know in their adult hearts,
even as they threaten to banish Timmy to bed
for his appalling behavior,
that their bosses are Big Fatty Stupids,
their wives are Dopey Dopeheads
and that they themselves are Mr. Sillypants.

~Billy Collins~

( Picture of my oldest grandson at three years of age. He's seven now.)

5 comments:

Brian Miller said...

smiles...i love reading billy collins...his poetry is so down to earth...and spot on...smiles...

Kerry O'Gorman said...

Yes I prefer the silly namecalling...can you imagine a fight in a bar with grown men using those names? I think they would joke each other to death!

Suz said...

ha ha billy
that's a good one...haven't read that one

Roslyn said...

Oh yeah that is too funny, Farmlady, and so true!
They can come up with the most innovative new expressions, culled from a mind as yet uncluttered & unfettered by barriers of conscience erected by the advancing years.

castlewon said...

yes, Mr. Collins knows your grandson, and a lot of other things too :)