Through a child’s eyes

When I recently attempted to explain to my five year old why there were lots of red posters saying ‘Vote Leave’ on her way to school, I received a fascinating insight into the mind of a child. The conversation went as follows:

5 year old:  ‘Mummy, what does that mean?’

Me:  ‘It’s about a decision that grown-ups are making. We have to decide whether
our country wants to stay being a member of a club.’

5 year old:   ‘What sort of club?’

Me:   ‘It’s a club called the European Union. It’s made up of lots of countries in Europe, like  France and Germany. Some people think that we should stay being a member of the club, but other people think it costs too much money and that it has too many rules.’

5 year old:  ‘That sign says we should leave the club.’

Me:  ‘That’s right. The person who put that sign there, thinks we should leave.’

5 year old:  ‘Why don’t they want to be a member of the club Mummy? Isn’t it better to be in clubs and have lots of friends? Aren’t we friends with France and Germany?’

Me:  ‘We will still be friends with them even if we are not in the club.’

5 year old:  ‘Didn’t we have a war with Germany in the olden days when there was lots of fighting? I remember we all wore poppies to remember it. I liked the poppies.’

It’s difficult to argue with that viewpoint. It’s wonderfully innocent and free of the baggage of fear, anger and jealousy that adulthood brings. It’s a shame we have to grow up really.

It brings to mind John Donne’s famous poem, ‘No man is an island.’

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

It is a piece of poetic history that reminds us to question whether we can thrive in isolation. In this case, that now remains to be seen.



The power of a sentence

Words can be powerful, but most of the time we use them to say bland, everyday things. We clutter our lives with sentences like;

“What’s for dinner tonight?”  “What’s on TV?”  “Have you seen my missing sock?”
“Do you want ketchup with that?”

But, occasionally we use their power to say much more interesting things. We use words to show our emotions.

“This is the best day of my life.” “I can’t believe it!”  “I love you so much.”
“I never want to see you again.”

Some of the best songs, writing and poems capture a multitude of colourful emotions in a handful of verses or lyrics.

A great example is in the song, ‘Headlights On Dark Roads’ by Snow Patrol. I love the first line of the lyric which begins, ‘For once I want to be the car crash. Not always just the traffic jam.’

Or, the first line of the Beatles song, ‘Yesterday,’ – ‘Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they’re here to stay. Oh, I believe in yesterday.’

Genius in a few words.

My favourite poem is ‘The Listeners’ by Walter de La Mare, which sends chills down the spine with its atmospherically written, otherworldly words. It’s about a man who visits an empty building in a forest. Halfway through are the beautiful words,

‘And he felt in his heart their strangeness
Their stillness answering his cry,’

I would highly recommend the whole poem to you, it’s pure magic.

So, as some of my previous blogs have spoken about being brave and taking a leap, I thought I would do something terrifying and show you one of my poems. It was inspired by a very emotional day in my life when I lost my mum.  I rediscovered it on my computer a few days ago and it took me back to that sad moment in my life. I hope you don’t mind me sharing it with you.

  Behind the door
by Susannah Hines

Packets of half eaten mints and old bus tickets
In bags piled up with the shoes
Memories on hangers, alone in a wardrobe
For somebody else to remove

Lying alone on the carpet, now speechless
You curl up with no choice, but to sleep
The rings on your fingers are taken, but worthless
Not able to see everyone weep

Behind the door you won’t answer
The door, closed in time
You know it’s your moment to go
With a note to the postman
To say why you stayed home
The curtain falls ending your show

The cup with the drink in the kitchen
The bags which you left by the door
All clues to say when sleep took you
Alone, by yourself on the floor

Behind the door you won’t answer
The door, closed for good
You knew it was your time to go
With your poems on paper
To send us your love
The curtain falls ending your show