"John"

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"John"

 

What worlds turn behind your almond eyes, that ready smile,

that childish innocence that lingers long when you are gone?

I feel your warmth through chubby hands and stubby fingers

of a child. You will not make old bones in this cold life

of sticks and stones and superstitious fears. Some careless god

cut short your years; played blackjack with your chromosomes

in a game that you could never understand. One extra card,

but still, a losing hand.

 

Cast in a mould that’s neither man nor boy. Simpler some might say;

when each new day brings joy in small things, and laughter cools

your pebble tongue. Your moon face shows no trace of seething rage

or wrong that you will never be the butterfly - trapped within

your caterpillar cage. There are those who taunt you, mock you

say you should be locked away - or lost before you live. They never try

to understand or see beyond appearances, they never know or feel

the love you have to give.

 

What world do you see? Sometimes it must seem out of reach and cruel.

But you can teach those who will listen, there’s more to you

than meets the eye, that you’re not here just to play their fool.

To know you and to better understand your undemanding needs

we come to better know our own. That compassion shown

with patience is its own reward. Behind our masks sometimes

we all need someone on whom we can depend, and all you ask of us

is see me, be my friend.

 

compassiondisabilityDowns syndromehumanitytoleranceunderstanding

◄ a curse - for the mildly irritating

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Comments

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Cate Greenlees

Fri 14th Aug 2009 12:40

A wonderful poem here Anthony. I, like Dave, have also taught special needs and downs children, and can attest to what loving and sweet natured souls they have.
I found this very moving.
Cate xx

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Isobel

Wed 12th Aug 2009 18:24

A lovely piece Anthony - yes very life affirming and humane. Beautifully read also - so nice to hear your calm voice - I will have to take some lessons from you!
Isobel x

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Donna Marie Beck

Wed 12th Aug 2009 11:16

Really like your first line.
Trying to understand someone's inner world through their eyes is never-ending.
Donna

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Steve Regan

Mon 10th Aug 2009 13:58

Anthony, this is a great, life-affirming, human piece. Early on in the piece I thought it was about Down's Syndrome but maybe it refers to some other condition.

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Dave Bradley

Sat 8th Aug 2009 21:01

This is terrific, Anthony. I taught in special schools for 12 years and belonged to a L'Arche community for a few years. The poem is spot on - people of this description (no labels) have so much to give if only other people would tune in. Hope we can chat about it one day - without being interrupted!

darren thomas

Sat 8th Aug 2009 11:24

This is a wonderful piece, Anthony.
I read it first without listening to the attached voice-file before discovering that its 'page' pace is matched perfectly with your own interpretation.

It appears to show an awareness of language sounds with running rhymes, and the subject and theme are close to my heart.

Really enjoyed this - thanks for sharing.

Janet

Sat 8th Aug 2009 10:20

This is lovely Anthony, particularly the last stanza which can be so meaningful and relevant for anyone.

Janet.x

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