14 AUGUST 1964, Page 21

Six Year Darling

The poets are to blame, or partly so : Wordsworth's pretty pigmy, plump with joy, And Henry Vaughan's white celestial thoughts Mislead as much as Millais' chubby boy Or daddy-blessing Christopher at prayer.

These fantasies are still quite popular.

Pick up any children's book and you will see That all the illustrations are as false As muscle-builders' ads: angelic girls And sturdy little chaps with candid eyes- Not to please the children, understand; You'll find few kids who're kidded by the act, Though later most of them will take the bribe And speak of infancy as paradise.

Will this boy, here, be legatee of lies?

Perhaps he will, and maybe just as well

If one day he is going to breed his own.

But now he knows that things are otherwise : Not paradise, no glimpse of God's bright face, But time of simple goods like warmth and sweets, Excitement, too; but often pain and fear,

And, worse than either, boredom, long and grey,

A dusty road to nowhere, hard to walk, Gaing on and on, desolate and bare, Until it breaks upon the hidden dark.