The Downs Child

Some years ago I saw a drawing of a Downs child and began to consider my own thoughts and feelings about how I regarded such children, what it would be like to be the parent of one of these special people. These two poems came out of those ponderings.


So steady and intent your gaze
staring at me as my patience frays…
So long it takes to tell you anything,
to watch you process what the world brings.

You don’t know, not yet at any rate, 
my anger and dismay at this, our fate:
Yours, to struggle just to comprehend;
mine, the same, it comes to in the end.

But then–for nothing that I see, you laugh!
The throaty coo and giggle whole, not half–
not half-a-child, in your pure delight;
Your chuckle bursts into my guilty night.

It’s I, not you, that must adjust my pace–
relax, remembering it’s not a race!
I teach your mind what you will need to know;
You teach my heart, where I’m a little slow. 


I am tempted
to be so sad
for you…
Grieving for 
your limitations,
for how the world
will pity
and neglect
and scorn…

And yet–
I see the fierceness
in your gaze:
to understand
whatever mystery
lies there before you

How you 
would scorn my pity
and every day!

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