Friday, 3 July 2009

What Hurt is

One of my son’s stranger behaviours

is to feel hair, fingernails, toenails

as sensitive, like another body part.

So if you cut his hair, it harms

him and, next, a howl of torture

upsets all the neighbours

like I, his loving parent, would injure him

when a tuft tumbles his blue jumper

or a fingernail leaps.


To lose a part of you inevitably,

well, that’s a painful moment for anyone

although, some would claim

in a patronising voice

‘It’s an act of love

to lose what’s not needed.’

Easy to say when your hair and nails

don’t have nerves and, afterwards,

the stumps don’t ache.


  1. The mind, the pain is Real to him but if you cut it secretly he wouldn't feel a thing? Staggering, incomprehensible. When I got cut off from my old twitter account (1awakening) my howls may have awakened the neighbors. & that green stump still aches & stings

  2. I have always wondered why boys cry when their hair is being cut or their nails. I wonder if it's the fear of losing something or a fear of being cut by the tool being used.

  3. There's hardly a greater hurt than seeing hurt in your child, real, imagined, physical, or emotional. Well said.

  4. wonderfully well written Triple W from me

  5. Great last stanza. Is it love? a loved one? a sentimental thing? All of the above I guess. Yes, those who are insensitive and those who have healed over time bring no relief to the moment of loss - Like Nietzsche to a child.

  6. Very nice! My youngest grandchild was like that. Lovely moment you've given us - thanks!