Growing Pain

The boy was barely five years old.

We sent him to the little school

And left him there to learn the names

Of flowers in jam jars on the sill

And learn to do as he was told.

He seemed quite happy there until

Three weeks afterwards,at night,

The darkness whimpered in his room.

I went upstairs, switched on his light,

And found him, wide awake, distraught,

Sheets mangled and his eiderdown

Untidy carpet on the floorI said “Why can’t you sleep a pain?”

He snuffled,gave a little moan,

Then he spoke a single word;”Jessica.” 

The sound was blurred.”Jessica? What do you mean?”

A girl at school called Jessica,

She hurts” he touched himself between

THE heart and stomach.

“She has been aching here and I can see her”

Nothing I had read or heard Instructed me in what to do.

I covered him and stroked his head.

“The pain will go in time”, I said.


Vernon Scannell 1922 

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