All very good

I seem to be drawn to poems at the moment… My daughter has a favourite book of poetry that she’s had for years, which made the final cut when we whittled down books to bring with us from France to Singapore last August. The other day, she and I were taking a break from her diligent e-learning to chat and lounge in her bedroom, when she jumped up, and exclaimed, “Mummy you really have to read this poem. It’s amazing and perfect for you!” She grabbed the book, flipped through the pages expertly and showed it to me. She was spot on and I can’t believe that it’s been in this book all along, waiting to be shared with you all! I love how the wonderful, anarchic John Hegley tackles, in a light-hearted but also poignant way how adults sometimes tear down children by stating the obvious (obviously the most important thing to an adult), “you’ve gone over the lines, that’s what you’ve done”. They sometimes ask sarcastic, superior, rhetorical questions “What do you think they’re there for, ay? Some kind of statement is it? Going to be a rebel are we?” in the guise of educating or even entertaining other adults. Finally they sometimes lie, (which is usually obvious to a child), “they’re all very good”, damning with blanket, thoughtless praise. That’s why I so passionately believe in creating at least one small, nearby space in the world (a closlieu) for everyone (from small children to grown-up children) to be able to paint without any judgement at all. What freedom to grow and such a way to liberate all of our creative spirits! Enjoy the poem!

From The Usborne Book of Poems for Young Children, (2004)

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