We Drink Monday Poetry Prompt – Child’s Question

Prompt: Your goal this week is to write a poem based on questions that children ask.  This poem can be any form of your choosing, anything you like!  Even if you don’t have children, try reflecting on the questions your nieces and nephews have asked you, or the questions you have asked when you were a child.

Turtle pondChild’s Question

What’s that you ask my golden boy
are you a godless heathen?
They called you that at school
because you don’t study their religion…

and I replied to him like this…

Now let me ask you love
what is it that you believe
do you feel inside of you
that you’re a godless heathen
that you are somehow bad?

He said to me:

I think that there is something
but it’s nothing I can see
and I don’t think that it’s a man
’cause men are just too small
to make a great big Universe
with all the stars and stuff.
I don’t think that I am bad
’cause I don’t go to their church
and I never said that they were
because they always do.

But I do feel oh so different
somehow just out-of-place
I only wish I were like them
so they wouldn’t tease me so.

Oh, my darling boy I said…
of course you are so right
the things that are all around us
have come from a force of life
and if some people call it God
it’s a way to help them see
that there is more to nature
than just us human beings.

And if some people shun you
because you’re not the same…
because you’re somehow different
you must be happy just the same.
You will always be somehow different
from someone anyway…
for that is the way of life
not all the world is gray.

But if you want to study
religion with them
just tell me so right now…
there’s no reason that you shouldn’t
I’ll talk to the teacher soon.

No mom, that’s not the issue
it’s clear now for me to see…
I don’t want to study saints and angels
or other things like that…
I just didn’t want to be different
I wanted to be the same…
but now I know that I am me
and they’ll tease me anyway.

He was only eight then,
when he asked of me this question…
and it made me sad to see
that though he was so young
he had to face the world.

We walked and looked at flowers
at trees in their variety
at mountains and streams
and stars in the great night sky
we read poems and stories too
before he went to bed
and sometimes he’d ask me questions,
we’d talk and think them out…

and

though he’s a grown man now
we still do.

N.B.  Italy is a country which for years sent its people to make their living in other parts of the world due to the poverty that inflicted the country.  It hadn’t had to face the issues of immigration by other people, people culturally different from themselves, until very recently.

It is also a Catholic country and although the Constitution guarantees the right to believe as one chooses, Religion is a nearly obligatory material for children from elementary to middle school.  One can opt out of the subject, but social pressure is very strong if one chooses to do so.  Recently the curriculum has been modified, but basically it still tends to be about the Catholic Faith and is often taught by nuns or lay catechists.

4 thoughts on “We Drink Monday Poetry Prompt – Child’s Question

  1. For there to be peer pressure at such a young age about religion amazes me. I’m glad you had such wonderful communication with your son; it is so heartwarming to read about. I would never have dreamed of asking my parents anything like that as a child. They had little tolerance for questions not immediately relevant or practical. This also explains my very distant relationship with them as an adult, and no doubt the trusting one you have been able to maintain with your adult son.

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    • I was very happy that he felt he could trust me and tell me what was bothering him…I did go and have a stern talk to his teachers…this is a big problem for kids in Italy…I’m happy that we have an easy relationship even if we don’t see each other every day…he’s been away for the last 5 years studying in Padova.

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  2. Pingback: Monday Poetry Prompt #13 Results! | We Drink Because We're Poets

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