Early Learning

“One more jelly baby, grandad,

Then it’s over, final… finish.”

William swept his arms, flatly,

Across his infant chest

In a gesture of finality,

That I could believe in, 

And cherish.


I watched the sugar-coated treat,

Disappear before my very eyes,

He seems to swallow it, rather than eat.


Another day, another school run.

William, bedraggled with bag and coat.

His mind had turned to food and fun.

A smile bedecked his cherubic face.

He patted my pockets, where the babies hide,

Discovering, immediately, a certain trace, 

The outline of my delicious tribe.


“Just four jelly babies then over, finish,

I am four years old, so need I four more.”

His logic is cast-iron and unarguable,

As four more of my jelly babies vanish.


So, what has William learned?

How to harvest the world’s resources.

The delicate principles of negotiation,

Within the framework of a modest ambition.

The benefits of incremental drift.

How smiling avoids a relationship rift.

Being concise about one’s demands,

And getting the goods into your hands,

Before dramatically raising the ante again.


He held all his fingers in the air.

“But four was then, grandad, now I need ten.

Then over with, final, finish…”


This was said as we reached the car.

“No, William, sorry, you’ve gone too far!

We must put need ahead of greed!”

Another lesson for my grandson to heed.

◄ Boy Racer

Reunion ►


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John Botterill

Thu 10th Nov 2022 13:42

Thanks for the likes, Stephen A, Holden and Nigel. 😀

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John Botterill

Mon 7th Nov 2022 22:27

Thanks for the like Frederick 👍

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John Botterill

Sun 6th Nov 2022 19:30

Thanks so much for your analysis, Stephen, which, as usual, grasps the point of what I intended. William is wise beyond his years!
Thanks too for the likes Frederick and Helene. 👍😀

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Stephen Gospage

Sun 6th Nov 2022 15:39

I found this utterly captivating, John, particularly the way you shape the poem to the title. Fortunately, I never had a craving for jelly babies!

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