Child Development

Rating: 3.5
As sure as prehistoric fish grew legs
and sauntered off the beaches into forests
working up some irregular verbs for their
first conversation, so three-year-old children
enter the phase of name-calling.

Every day a new one arrives and is added
to the repertoire. You Dumb Goopyhead,
You Big Sewerface, You Poop-on-the-Floor
(a kind of Navaho ring to that one)
they yell from knee level, their little mugs
flushed with challenge.
Nothing Samuel Johnson would bother tossing out
in a pub, but then the toddlers are not trying
to devastate some fatuous Enlightenment hack.

They are just tormenting their fellow squirts
or going after the attention of the giants
way up there with their cocktails and bad breath
talking baritone nonsense to other giants,
waiting to call them names after thanking
them for the lovely party and hearing the door close.

The mature save their hothead invective
for things: an errant hammer, tire chains,
or receding trains missed by seconds,
though they know in their adult hearts,
even as they threaten to banish Timmy to bed
for his appalling behavior,
that their bosses are Big Fatty Stupids,
their wives are Dopey Dopeheads
and that they themselves are Mr. Sillypants.
worldnotworld 07 January 2018
What is this idiocy of having a robot read the poem in a video depicting a cloudy sky and a tiny fragment of some ugly apartment complex? It's one thing to find good poem in an ugly place; it's another to create an ugly place for a good poem.
4 1 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 16 December 2017
A very impressing poem, I have enjoyed this very interesting poem, such a pleasant treat. A TEN and much more for the Voting. CONGRATULATIONS for The Poem of The Day, Billy!
1 1 Reply
Michael Morgan 16 December 2017
who you callin' a fatuous Enlightment hack? S. Johnson.
1 2 Reply
Glen Kappy 16 December 2017
I’ve read this one before, but that didn’t stop me from smiling. There’s much to like in this poem, but I’ll just briefly say that Collins was deservedly one of America’s Poet Laureates. -GK
2 1 Reply
Edward Kofi Louis 16 December 2017
Their fellow squirts! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
2 1 Reply
Deepak Kumar Pattanayak 16 December 2017
Children are supposed to be as happy and full of frolic and play as all living beings in the spring-time of life ought to be.......Very informative and edifying indeed told amusingly.........thanks for sharing
1 2 Reply
Bernard F. Asuncion 16 December 2017
Such an interesting write by Billy Collins??????
1 1 Reply
Rr P 15 November 2016
A well written Cacophony (poetic device)
1 1 Reply
Susan Williams 19 December 2015
Oh, yes! Let's hear the truth, Billy Collins, in your way and humorous tone! I tire of all those angelic children lisping sweet words
27 1 Reply
Raymond Farrell 25 October 2015
Pretty well on the money and light-hearted too.
2 1 Reply

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