With school holidays in full swing and our wonderful summer weather, at this time of year, some grandparents might feel a little bit like Ogden Nash in his poem “Children’s Party” and thoughts might stray to the delightful peace of a country walk as can be found on this footpath near a White Horse somewhere in Wiltshire.
“May I join you in the doghouse, Rover?
I wish to retire until the party’s over.
Since three o’clock I’ve done my best
To entertain each tiny guest;
My conscience now I’ve left behind me,
And if they want me let them find me.
I blew their bubbles, I sailed their boats,
I kept them from each other’s throats.
I told them tales of magic lands,
I took them out to wash their hands
I sorted their rubbers and tied their laces,
I wiped their noses and dried their faces …”
and he goes on …
“Oh, progeny playing by itself
Is a lonely fascinating elf,
But progeny in roistering batches
Would drive Saint Francis from here to Natchez.
Shunned are the games a parent proposes;
They prefer to squirt each other with hoses,
Their playmates are their natural foemen
Any they like to poke each other’s abdomen.”
but my favourite lines are …
“Their joy needs another’s woe to cushion it,
Say a puddle, and somebody littler to push in it.”
“They observe with glee the ballistic results
Of ice cream with spoons for catapults,
And inform the assembly with tears and glares
That everyone’s presents are better than theirs.
Oh, little women and little men,
Someday I hope to love you again.
But not until the party is over,
So give me the key to the doghouse, Rover.”
- Submitted by Gill Gibson-Piggot, WFWI Trustee