Friday, 11 July 2008

Innocence and Experience

Two Little Girls

And there were two little girls
In long dresses, picking blackberries
In a field before the city
Once upon a day long and bright
When the world was black and white
And there was a man in a cloth cap
Stole up and grabbed them by the shoulders
Tried to scoop them up and shut them up
But novice hands failed him
Lost his nerve, and then his grip.
Tried to make it up with assy drops
Almost tempting older Lily
But wiser Alice dragged her, running
To the safety of the lane
As he begged them not to tell.
They never went again.
Eighty years
And a thrashing, later
From a mother who didn’t believe her,
She still can’t stand blackberries
Or funny men,
The grandma I nearly never had.

© LS King


Rol said...

That's haunting, Laura. And one in the eye for anyone who thinks Stranger Danger is a modern invention.

I have to assume that 'assy drops' are some kind of sweet and not something else...

teeni said...

Wow - that really is haunting. I have to agree with rol. You are such a great writer though. The telling of the tale is superbly done.

moi said...

Beautifully done. I like the juxtaposition of sing-songy tone and disturbing subject matter. When you are a fabulously famous poet, don't forget the little people, okay?

But I, too, have to ask: what are assy drops?

Old Fogey said...

Excellent. Are assy drops the same as acid drops? Those bitter sweet boiled sweets that, if you got a fierce one, cleared up your catarrh in no time.

Wisewebwoman said...

Gave me a chill, the rhythm and rhyme are so poignant Laura, as it was a deja-vu for me. There have always been pervs, back to the beginning of time, who prey on innocence and naivete.

Steerforth said...

What a fantastic poem!

Steve said...

Wow. Very sinister and as Rol says, makes you realize that maybe things these days are no more worse or better than they used to be... certain dangers have always existed.

The Sagittarian said...

Poet - you are sooo clever. What a talented poem. "History has taught us we have learned nothing from history". As Steve says, some dangers are ever present!

nearside said...

Goodness me. That's quite a warning tale. "The grandma I nearly never had" is a powerful line.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Rol and Old Fogey - 'assy drops' are indeed slang for the boiled sweet 'Acid Drops' - which I believe are still available from certain Traditional Confectioners nearly a century later! Moi, I hope that answers your question.

Teeni, thank you - it's one of those poems I wasn't sure about and is not one I normally read aloud.

Moi - I always believe in the old adage about being nice to people on the way up as you'll be seeing them again on the way down! Joking aside, thank you for your supreme confidence in me! I am greatly touched & my first act shall be to throw a big party for all my blogmates if anything happens!

Wisewebwoman, sorry to hear you too had a bad experience. I do hope you managed to dodge yours as well. I was attacked when I was 12 (by an Indian holy man of all people!) but thankfully managed to fight him off in time.

Thank you Steerforth.

Steve, I wrote this after the British girls Holly and Jessica disappeared and were subsequently found to have been murdered by their school caretaker. Like everyone else I was affected by the murders and it seemed to trigger remembering my Grandmother's story, much though it had a happier ending.

Sagittarian You are too kind, and I fear you are right - nothing seems to be learned from history about how to prevent these threats to childhood innocence.

Nearside, thanks - that *is* the line I am most proud of as it happens.

Thank you everyone for your lovely comments - it seems you like the family stuff - I have a few more pieces in the pipeline, but in the name of mixing it a bit, I won't download them all at once!