Child Therapy

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Child Therapy

Postby ray miller » Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:40 pm

They’re ever so old on Sundays when we visit
Mum’s friend, Mary, who looks very sad, but isn’t

the mother of Jesus, though she could be someone else
from the Bible, who forgets what her children are called.

She has a web of blue lines around her eyes, and all up
her skinny arms and hands. I said, you could use your pen

to write down their names on your palms
like Mummy does with telephone numbers.

The skin on her face is like Play-Do that’s been
left out overnight and gone too dry and crumbly.

When she laughed I thought it might break away,
I was scared of what lay underneath.

The nurse had never seen Mary smile before.
I suppose she has to be really careful.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.
ray miller
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Re: Child Therapy

Postby Firebird » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:15 pm

I really like it Ray. It has a lot going for it. The imagery is great. Not sure I understand it all but what I get is excellent and I’m happy for some of it to be opaque. I also like the child’s voice, but just maybe it could do with a little more emphasis. Some specific comment below.


ray miller wrote:They’re ever so old on Sundays when we visit (I like the use of an exophoric reference here)
Mum’s friend, Mary, who looks very sad, but isn’t (nice stanza break)

the mother of Jesus, though she could be someone else
from the Bible, who forgets what her children are called. (Only a child could say this :D )

She has a web of blue lines around her eyes, and all up (shouldn’t it be ‘down’ not ‘up’?)
her skinny arms and hands. I said, you could use your pen

to write down their names on your palms (I absolutely Iove that image of the blue lines (blood lines/relatives) having to be penned on. Great image)
like Mummy does with telephone numbers. (Maybe ‘mum’ here. ‘Mummy’ sounds a bit affected to me)

The skin on her face is like Play-Do that’s been
left out overnight and gone too dry and crumbly.

When she laughed I thought it might break away,
I was scared of what lay underneath. (Again, another fantastic image. Love the idea of the dried out play-do crumbling away when she laughs, exposing the bones of a persons life. Yes, it’s very scarcely.)

The nurse had never seen Mary smile before.
I suppose she has to be really careful.(I like the ending but not sure I completely get it. But I’m not too worried about that. There is enough here for me too enjoy)


Cheers,

Tristan
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Re: Child Therapy

Postby Pauline » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:44 pm

Enjoyed this Ray.
I loved the childs voice.

They’re ever so old on Sundays when we visit How about a full stop after old?
Mum’s friend, Mary, who looks very sad, but isn’t Love the line break here
the mother of Jesus, though she could be someone else
from the Bible, who forgets what her children are called.

She has a web of blue lines around her eyes, and all up
her skinny arms and hands. I said, you could use your pen

to write down their names on your palms
like Mummy does with telephone numbers.

The skin on her face is like Play-Do that’s been
left out overnight and gone too dry and crumbly.

When she laughed I thought it might break away,
I was scared of what lay underneath.

The nurse had never seen Mary smile before.
I suppose she has to be really careful.

Apart from the above minor niggle I think this nails a childs wonderfully accurate and simplistic observation of a visit to a crumbly old person.
You have captured what has been seen, heard or noticed by this child .
Thoroughly enjoyed this Ray.
Thanks for the smiles :)
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Re: Child Therapy

Postby Macavity » Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:49 am

She has a web of blue lines around her eyes, and all up
her skinny arms and hands. I said, you could use your pen


I like that thread of blue and pen.

The progression from referencing the child's Play-Do to what 'lay underneath' is the pulse of the poem - a scariness summed up beautifully in the flat concluding lines.

The nurse had never seen Mary smile before.
I guess she has to be really careful.


Just a thought.

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Re: Child Therapy

Postby ray miller » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:05 am

Thanks all. I'm pleasantly surprised that it's been well received.

She has a web of blue lines around her eyes, and all up (shouldn’t it be ‘down’ not ‘up’?) - good question. I've heard both used, maybe it's a regional thing.
her skinny arms and hands. I said, you could use your pen

They’re ever so old on Sundays when we visit How about a full stop after old? - It's meant to deliberately run on like that, as a child might say it. After 30 continuous years of "child-caring" I've picked up a few things!

I suppose/guess she has to be really careful. - In this context suppose seems to me the more likely word a child would use.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.
ray miller
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Re: Child Therapy

Postby David » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:35 pm

I think it's excellent. Have you been watching The Royle Family lately? Lines 2-3 reminded me of something that I think Mary said in that.

I did wonder about "Mummy".

Cheers

David
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Re: Child Therapy

Postby ray miller » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:33 am

Thanks, fortytwo. They’re ever so old on Sundays when we visit - the effect is deliberate. Firebird called it exophoric and I'm not one to argue. Kids say those kind of things, sometimes it sounds charming, but yeah, often it don't.
The child I have in mind is our youngest adopted daughter, who is 8, and whose behaviour is far from exemplary, but often better towards older people.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.
ray miller
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Re: Child Therapy

Postby ray miller » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:36 am

Thanks, David. I used to watch The Royle Family, but I'm struggling to recall who Mary was. Was it the next-door neighbour?
I don't think it's unusual for kids to switch from Mum to Mummy. Depends on the context, or what they're after.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.
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