A Labour of Life

Wrapped up in the warm woollen winds
Of this safety-catch world,
The adults feed us fairy-tales
And tell us not to fear the ghosts
And the dragons, and the demons
Beneath our beds.

They never warn us about the demons
That live inside our own heads.

Faded train tracks on playground tarmac
Are the only tracks I ever knew,
When I could span continents with my fingertips
And gather no saltwater dew.
And stars were for wishing upon, not for
Divining constellations that might tell me
If this love will last the year.

They never tell us the stories
Of how reality fell out with destiny
Long ago.

They pack us off to school with a water bottle
And a lunchbox, where we learn to add numbers
And spell words,
But not how to solve the equations in our emotions
Or how to use the right words
To make the right people stay.

They never teach us the lessons
We need to learn.

They foster our hopes and dreams and
Tell us to reach up for them,
Neglecting to inform us that our hopes and dreams
Do not dwell among the stars,
And that we need a shovel to dig them out
From this Earth of ours.

They don't tell us about how one day
We'll be plucked from our trees,
Where the sweetest apples of promise grow,
Just to be flung amongst the rot
Of the adult world below.

They don't tell us how we'll have to plant our own seeds,
And cultivate our dreams
To satisfy a hope
That might not even come true,
No matter how many times we wish
On constellations we never understood.

And they don't tell us about the weeds
That will suffocate us with dirty hands,
Clasped around our still white necks.
And they don't tell us about the mould
We'll discover on the insides of our souls,
Or about how bloody this battle
Will really be.

We're not taught to swim
Before being thrown in the sea.