Little boy sits on the edge of his bed,
slumped, in his loneliness, drooping his head;
hush! hush! advise him don’t dare –
he’s just thrown a potted plant thumping downstair!

What’s all the fuss about? Who is to blame?
‘Mum has been on at me – always the same!’
The three of us talk: what’s the cause of the rage?
He’d changed his decision about a mouse cage.

‘Well, let us decide now and stick to the choice.
And what else does Mum do that you find annoys?’
Telling him off when he swaps round his room
makes his blood boil and pervades him with gloom.

Four diff’rent socks trail over the floor –
none of them matching – from window to door.
‘Is this bedroom tidy?’ I ask each in turn;
mother sees chaos, but not so her son!

‘Order your space the way you desire,
but keep your escape clear in case of a fire.’
Then, picking him up to drape over my knee,
I chuck off his socks and he’s shrieking with glee.

With a face wreathed in smiles he gets on with the toil
of vacuum-cleaning the hallway of soil.
Then after I’ve gone he hugs mother again
and says he is sorry for causing her pain.

Little boy bouncing all over his bed
could damage the springs, get a crack on his head.
You might as well laugh; scowl no one dares –
God has just answered a few of our prayers.

Hugh Thompson (5 April 2000)

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