Sep 152010

by Keith Moul

A child’s natural hatefulness

always shocks me:

as if teasing a struggling toad

were a higher joy;

as if letting air out of the soul

were like letting air out of a ball;

as if other children,

all other children,

were private pets

leashed for new forms of fun.

I have forgotten my cruelties.

I have taken refuge in age.

I have eaten at the hands of kindness.

I have forgiven others for my pain.

Often my mind has been open to trespass;

my child has matured, put aside

most of her childish fears;

our attendance at the feast around us

has quickened the foot

and strengthened the arm.

A child’s natural hatefulness

often saddens me;

as if a large part of me stands by,

alert but ineffective;

as if my breathing were a selfish act

that only I hear;

as if the smallest part of me

turns petty in the face of need,

demanding my advantages.