by Diane Dolphin
|“With war in Ukraine, editors help kids cope with scary news.” —News Decoder, February 25, 2022|
We have failed you,
We sold you a fairy tale: Once upon a time,
all children were created equal.
We proclaimed your bodies, your lives
as sovereign. Daughters,
that is no longer true. Black and brown sons,
we know it never was.
We have fiddled while the west burns,
the east floods, the poles dissolve.
We watched our elders succumb to pandemic
while we fought over masks. Lost
our children to weapons of death while
we debated the definition of
assault rifles. We wait –
we wait—as you are picked off
one by one.
Child, the barbarians have breached the gates.
The monster is in your classroom.
Dread seeps into your sleep.
Jabberwock has grown a new head,
is assembling his army of minions.
How can we possibly
You need to grow up,
quickly now. Leave us, the weak-willed
Take up your pen and shield, unleash
your small voices, amass in great numbers.
Demand we step aside.
You are your only hope.
Author’s Note: Above is a poem I wrote in response to the deluge of bad news lately, culminating in the Supreme Court Decision. The poem—and my title—is inspired by the barrage of media articles that always come on the heels of unimaginable news, and which are headlined along the variation of: "What to tell children when the news is scary."
Diane Dolphin is a poet, writer, and former college instructor from Warwick, RI.