Originally appearing on the In Between Time Festival Gathering Storm mini site, this is a reactionary piece I was asked to write as part of my role as Festival writer. It relates to the themes of the international festival, which in 2015 was Storm. I focused on the the future prospects for my unborn child. Not like, about to born, as in I am not pregnant. Maddy Costa, the Guardian reviewer who was curating the site, put the poem next to letters from children addressed to grown up’s, explaining how to make the world a better place. It is delightfully creepy. Have a look
By Ellen Waddell
My child will have a sense of wonder about the world, they will look at everything with a sense of eager anticipation, desperate to find the root cause, to dig into the circuits and tear out the wires, unyielding in their search to discover who put them there in the first place.
My child will spend hours reading books on the universe, the planets and the stars, focusing particularly on the theory of entropy and how one day the sun will kill us all, and my child will develop a love for the ending of things.
My child will wake to find shadow men in their room, unable to move until daylight reveals an unfortunately placed jumper and a misshapen hat, and my child will speak of lucid nightmares, of being lost in forests and train stations, and frame by frame, my child’s dreams will echo mine.
My child will pour over images of uprooted trees, abandoned houses, pale blue dots, exploding solar systems and vast empty plains of stars, and my child will shrink before my eyes and ask why the world has been labelled wrong.
My child will be used as a bargaining tool, a promotional item, a statistic, a commodity, evidence for hope and evidence of despair. They will be atypical, attacked, patronised, projected upon and shrunk into a thousand meaningless sound bites, and my child will protest, that no, they do not speak for all children, they only speak for themselves.
My child will fall in love with a thousand uneven smiles, freckles dusted across sunburnt cheeks, the flex of a calf muscle and an enthusiastic wave. My child will burrow deeply within their lovers affections, hiding between strands of hair and sweet smelling necks, but my child will always have their eye on the door.
My child will discover badly hidden photographs, discarded medical bills and a shared history of faulty synapses. They will hear of ancient dangling feet and limp bodies, and my child will get a phone call at 25 that will break their heart.
My child will offer wide grins to strangers and spill change at bus conductors, and they will fall sleep in a pile of old books. My child will slither into corners at parties and funerals, bulldozing people out of the way, as they scream out for the balcony, for the destruction of all.
My child will get lost in train stations, forests and the heavens. My child will pray to science for the shadow men, for the stars to explode, for beams of light to pierce their heart, for me, for all the lost uneven smiles, the dangling feet of their ancestors, for apathy, for the sun to burn them through with its rays, for the end of their bloodline, for the chance to float away.
My child will be whatever I want it to be. My child doesn’t stand a chance.