I imagine that asking a child to “be careful” is one way to teach concentration, if in a slightly negative mode.

More effective, perhaps, are games of hide-and-seek (lost & found people) because they also introduce the idea of positive imagination. What if instead of losing mittens or homework, “I lost a World — the other day!” 

Right away, Emily Dickinson uses this poem to put on a child’s helplessness. Turns out, childhood may be where to look.

I lost a World – the other day!
Has Anybody found?
You’ll know it by the Row of Stars
Around its forehead bound!

A Rich man – might not notice it –
Yet – to my frugal Eye,
Of more Esteem than Ducats –
Oh find it – Sir – for me!

The poem sounds out being dependent, “Has Anybody found?”, on whoever — nice person, or bad — happens to be willing to play. Without waiting for a sign that the game is on, I blindly assume someone understands what I have chosen to ignore — where shall we look? Demanding that someone in authority hear, “You’ll know it by the Row of Stars”.  Just look! “Around its forehead bound!”

The adult world, when I was a child, seemed mostly to be a place where “giants” were allowed to do as they pleased. If “A Rich man — might not notice it —”, though stars line up perfectly, like diamonds in a princess’s tiara, the poem has found a chink in the giants’ powers. Realizing this, a little bit of childhood is lost. “Oh find it — Sir — for me!”

As a child, and certainly as a teenager, I am unwilling to wean myself completely from the world authority represents. “Yet — to my frugal Eye,” holding to my position means learning to evaluate for myself what of childhood is “Of more esteem than Ducats —” of gold or silver. Too valuable to relinquish. Imagination, for example, or freedom of thought, (if not of geography). The essence of self, of individuality.

To play hide-and-seek with identity is not an option. Conflicts, that I will probably lose one way or another with others, over unique or prized aspects of self that they cannot understand, is an option.

Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way

Advertisements