This is a bit of a venting session, so I’m sorry in advance. One of the most regretful things about today’s society, I feel, is our attitude towards children. Perhaps I’m seeing wrong, but they often get shunted to the side in favor of personal interests, careers or other aspects of our lives. Some choose not to have children at all–and I can only ponder how much joy they do not have the chance to experience because of that. But the feeling is that children don’t bring joy–they’re a hassle and expensive and frankly annoying. I cannot say this view is a new one, because even throughout history children have tended to get a rather shorter end of the stick. But I cannot express how sad it makes me feel every time I’m cashiering and woman or man walks up, fairly yells at their children, proceeds to ignore them while their talking or asking a question and then get mad when they disobey. I understand shopping with kids is difficult (believe me, I’ve tried with siblings and other little munchkins), but treating them kindly if firmly always makes the process go smoother. So today’s poem is for all of the children out there whose family situation isn’t what it ought to be–may you someday find a home like Longfellow’s, or create one for yourself.
The Children’s Hour, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
That is known as the Children’s Hour.
I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.
From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.
A whisper, and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.
A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!
They climb up into my turret
O’er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.
They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!
Do you think, o blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!
I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.
And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!