Fear is a powerful motivator, especially when developing characters for children and young adults. Humor is the antidote, it is the one emotion we are born with and far too quickly abandoned as we get older. As a culture I wonder if we place too much emphasis on fear in the stories we tell young readers. If we condition readers to accept and seek out greater and greater peril in the stories they read then doesn’t that become the response they compare their lives against? If they aren’t being fed enough fear do they grow more anxious that, somehow, something is amiss in their lives?
Which is all a bit heavy as an introduction to a rather light-hearted poem this week. My writing prompt was “What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve done for fun?” but I wanted to turn it around a bit. When danger becomes fun, what becomes the most dangerous thing? And if you’re 12 years old?
at 12, the most dangerous thing
on roller coasters
I’ve thrown my hands into the air
to let the qualms blow through my hair
never screamed or betrayed a care
when joining all the boasters
wild in the woods
I’ve plunged my hands deep in the holes
and warrens of bullfrogs and moles
I’ve hunted fish with sharpened poles
and come up with the goods
at the quarry ponds
I’ve jumped in naked as a jay
cannonballed a mile of spray
a master of all I survey
the king of vagabonds
from scary movies
I have no fear of zomboid ghouls
demented clowns with power tools
poisonous bugs who prey on fools
or delinquent juvies
danger I dismiss
I ride my bike with eyes closed tight
or taunt the neighbor’s dog to bite
afraid of nothing day or night…
except a girl’s kiss
Well, we all get over these things eventually. Too bad we abandon some of that free-spiritedness in the process.
And here we are, it’s Poetry Friday again, and last one in is a rotten rhyme! Looks like Toby over at The Writer’s Armchair has the roundup this week. Go ahead, plunge your arm deep and come up with the goods!