When I was a very small child
I got a prickle in my foot
“I hate these goat head burrs!”
And Mum said very firmly – harshly even
“Hate is a very strong word – don’t use it”
This memory sits with me so strongly
Because at the time – I didn’t think I deserved it
Some sympathy would be nice
Surely everyone hates painful goat head burrs!
Surely everyone hates
Then I grew up
To hate something
Is to invite evil into the world
I’ve learned to accept
Which is a much better word
I’ve learnt to tolerate
Tried to understand
I cannot change another person
But I can choose
Where my feet land
It is not the prickles fault
It caught me unaware
And as a great man once said
“Let no man pull you low enough to hate him”
Martin Luther King
Didn’t want hate in his reflection
Because what you give out
Is what comes back
And who really wants to live like that?
*some people. It’s pride month – people still hate gays. They hate people who are different. They hate this and they hate that and basically they are just hateful people
That really happened by the way – and it did stick in my brain for just that reason – Mum was angry with me for using the word hate.
I thought it was so weird given she was the gentlest of people and would normally have sympathised with me about the pain of that prickle. Goat heads are a wickedly sharp three pronged burr – if you stand on one in bare feet the pain ricochets up your body and makes a grown man yodel.
Bastards of things.