Poems About Children

childrenChildren have been the topic of many a poem. Whether it was because they are in some way special to the writer, or because they were just a convenient topic for discussion, children tend to find themselves the locus of attention to poets of all genre and cultures. In most western cultures, we accept that every child is born to its parents, grows and develops according to the influences of the society it’s raised in. Other cultures don’t necessarily agree with this western perspective. For instance, according to the beliefs of Sufi mysticism, the child’s soul looks out upon the earth, observing each and every mother’s soul, examining each for her desirable characteristics. Once that child has found the mother which is best suited to helping him or her achieve its purpose in life, it makes its choice. Therefore, the relationship which develops between the child and the mother is not by accident. Although it seems that sometimes the child may reject its mother, wishing that it had for some reason selected someone different, there was some purpose in this arrangement, and the ultimate goal will be reached because of the initial decision.

I am a Child of Love
by Jalaluddin Rumi

The attitudes revealed in poems about children often times depend on the age of the child being discussed. For the new born infant, there is all manner of awe and amazement at the new life that has presented itself to the mother and father. But let the child grow a little older, and some of that amazement is replaced by frustration. And again, as the child reaches those testy and aggravating teenage years, poems often reflect those inner feelings. Yet, in spite of those difficult times, most poets acknowledge the joys and excitement of seeing a child grow from infancy to some state of maturity.

Where Did You Come From, Baby Dear?
by George MacDonald

Perhaps one of the most common topics for a poet about children is acknowledging that first day when the child is on its own. Whether it’s the first day of kindergarten or going to visit a relative — whatever the event, the worry and angst felt by the mother can often be almost overwhelming. This is the same, regardless of the culture or setting. It could be in the big city or in the rural countryside. It could be in some contemporary American setting, with all of the worries and concerns about the ills of society, or it could be in some ancient, traditional locale, where the only concerns of the time were being distracted by a bird on a fence post or a tuft of fresh new flowers popping up through a late spring snow. Here is an example of such, written by Meng Jiao of 9th century China. He was a government worker who also spent much of his life trying to become a well known poet. He achieved that status late in life, but died not long after attaining the title of imperial advanced scholar.

Song for a Traveling Son
by Meng Jiao



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