Warning To Parents
By Elizabeth Jennings
Save them from terror; do not let them see
The ghost behind the stairs, the hidden crime.
They will, no doubt, grow out of this in time
And be as impervious as you and me.
Be sure there is a night-light close at hand;
The plot of that old film may well come back,
The ceiling, with its long uneven crack,
May hint at things no child can understand.
You do all this and are surprised one day
When you discover how the child can gloat
On Belsen and on tortures – things remote
To him. You find it hard to watch him play
With thoughts like these, and find it harder still
To think back to the time when you also
Caught from the cruel past a childish glow
And felt along your veins the wish to kill.
Fears are more personal than we had guessed –
We only need ourselves; time does the rest.