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To a child

By Jill Harper-JuddPublished 3 months ago 6 min read

Untitled (for a child)


Early morning outside.

The air is still and quiet, the birds just waking.

Their lilting voices gathering to greet the new day.

On the verandah, look how the roses

Flow gracefully over the arch of the trellis.

A spill of lilac and lavender blooms

Turning to face the morning sun.

Do you see a rose you like?

Oh, yes! That one is quite beautiful!

What perfect symmetry! What delicate hues!!

Shades of lavender in full, glorious bloom;

Petals extended to embrace the morning.

Do you know what is most special about roses?

It isn’t their pleasing fragrance – although

that heady perfume is certainly most tantalizing.

It isn’t the golden pollen or the sweet nectar

Although I can say for certain

That would be the opinion of the bees!

No, it is the simple perfection of the rose itself!!

So take a few moments to inspect your flower…

Lightly trace the outline of each tinted petal.

Notice how they overlap, one flowing into the next

To create an unbroken pattern of widening spirals.

And now - gently brush the petals against your cheek.

Can you feel it? That gossamer caress

Like the softest whisper of a fairy wing.

(And perhaps even now a fairy is napping among the roses;

A flower would make a lovely boudoir).

Now, let’s sit and have breakfast

Hard-boiled eggs in their unbroken shells;

Toast and fresh creamy butter.

Is your oatmeal well-stirred? Not too lumpy?



What shall we do next?

The day is bright and clear and perfect for a stroll!

How about the holly maze – have you seen it yet?

Holly is so lovely – its leaves are glossy and green

And the round, bright berries shine in the sun.

The gardener keeps it well-trimmed and evenly sheared

Establishing a graceful wall of greenery bounding the maze.

But even so, do be careful and don’t get pricked!

Holly leaves might be shiny smooth

But they are also very pointy and sharp!

See how the points form even rows along the leaf edges?

Perhaps fairies use them to make sharp swords

To help protect their kingdom.

Just a few more unhurried steps and – Ah! Look here!

A worn wooden door between two round marble pillars.

Through this we have easy passage into a small clearing

With twelve straight marble columns encircling the grassy space

You can count them if you wish!

They are lined up along the hedges

To create a perfect, sheltered domain (or a fairy realm!).

When I was a child, we used to play tag and hide and go seek

or have picnics here on the soft manicured grass.

And over here, do you see how,

When the sun shines on the polished marble just right…

It seems as if you can almost see through to the inside?

I wonder if there are creatures hidden within the marble?

There is a peaceful magic here; I am quite sure of it.

I bet the fairies could tell us.

But for now, let us pass easily across this quiet space

And step again between two straight pillars

So we can finally enter the maze!

Remember to watch out for the holly leaves!

Those fairies mean to protect their kingdom!

The maze path itself is an easy walk,

Paved with river pebbles worn round and polished by time.

If you look straight down the path towards the first turn

You can see there is an object of some sort.

A large contraption of polished stone and hammered metal.

We will have to get closer for a clearer view

But I can tell you this: it is one of my very favorite devices!

Here we are, see? Now for the examination!

I’m fairly certain the stone base is granite-

It is so polished it almost looks like a mirror!

While the triangle and numerals are so bright they almost glow -

I’d say those are bronze for sure! Wouldn’t you?

The Roman numerals are evenly placed around the top edge of the base.

And there is a dark metal triangle solidly set into the center.

Do you know what this is? Have you seen one before?

It is a sundial!

As the Earth follows its ordered path around the Sun,

Sunlight falls on the sundial.

And the sundial’s shadow shows the simple, steady passage of time.

(I expect even fairies need to know when it is dinner time!)

Are you ready to move on?

We’ll see if we can untangle the maze and uncover more treasures!

Down this path I can see another monument of burnished bronze.

Down the other, it looks like a statue of polished marble.

We have a clear sky and a whole carefree morning ahead.

Which way do you choose?


I think we should go walk along the river after lunch –

We can pause to admire

The way the afternoon sun drops through the trees and

Reflects off the tranquil water.

Look there! Straight ahead, not too far.

The slow, steady course of the current is broken.

Water-polished rocks – all different sizes – capture and divide the flow

Creating eddies and quiet pools.

You may venture onto them, but keep in mind that they are very slippery!

When I was a child

I imagined a frog prince lived beneath the slick-soft rocks.

He had been enchanted by an irate fairy he mistook for a horsefly

And was forced to tolerate bumpy, warty toad skin

Until a magic kiss could release him to his unmarred human form.

He may still be patiently waiting

But I have to imagine that life as a toad, really,

Would be quite untroubled.


It is almost time to return…I’m starting to look forward to dinner!

Imagine gleaming silver platters holding a succulent roast with glazed carrots,

Round pearl onions and whipped potatoes with cream.

But one last stop before we go back:

We really should visit the old covered bridge.

Its massive beams still hold strong and true over the water

And its sturdy planks have been sanded smooth

By weather and wear and time.

But most remarkable of all: the ancient wood has no splinters

So you can poke along the joints and into crannies

And seek out the hidden, hollowed places most favored

by small birds (or fairies).

And now – let’s go get our dinner!

It has been a lovely, busy but peaceful day

(A day spent outside is never wasted.)

But dinner time is time to relax and rest.

We can enjoy our roast and mashed potatoes and

Of course fresh-mixed chocolate milk for you.

It will all be served on silk tablecloths the color of the sky.

And we’ll have a marvelous memory to share.

childrens poetry

About the Creator

Jill Harper-Judd

I've been writing poetry and short stories since childhood....but my life has often been chaotic so (mental) space to write can be hard to find. I am a lover of words and the worlds we can create with them. I seek beauty in all things.

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Comments (3)

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  • Melissa Ingoldsby3 months ago

    Very imaginative and sweet

  • This was sooooo wonderful and magical! I'm so in love with this!

  • Andrea Corwin 3 months ago

    Ah, you see it all like I do. 😍 Beautiful poem with so much to see! I loved these lines: Notice how they overlap, one flowing into the next To create an unbroken pattern of widening spirals. Check out my nature poems when you can. 😉

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