They Are Children Too


When you pander to the random whims
Of your spoilt and peevish child,
Have a thought for
The unacknowledged destitute nearby,
Not half as bred and fed as your pet.
Hasn’t he whims or wishes or even more
That he is hard put to conceal
Fearing your active chagrin?

He knows from his street cradle
Life is hard for the likes of him.
He knows no ministering angel of a parent
Or an indulgent kinsman or cousin
To light his face with a half – formed smile
Or to wipe a tear off his face.
To him Santa Claus is remotest fantasy
Of whom he hears upon a lucky rival’s cheer
As he abandons a cloying toy
Grasping a new one in his father’s arms.
He watches strangers kiss their children
Wondering what his sire looked like
Who flung him with no kind thought
Into the lap of mundane mercy.
In some places he is worked to death
Despite the law’s binding hoops,
But he is past caring
As his childhood drowns in hungry rage.
He is lambasted for stealing a biscuit
Or leaning upon a parked car;
He and his ilk nobody claims,
They live the visible moment,
Ever abjuring the past.
To him poetry and luxury remain
The concerns of a receding domain
Unless poetry be a rapture of pain
And luxury the lowly carnival.
He thinks he is loved not at all
For the yoke his young shoulders
Are forced to bear,
But who knows he may be the emperor
Of tomorrow’s kingly endeavour!

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