I think most children experience times when they must listen to their parents argue. I think children experience a special sort of helplessness at such times. Without emotional maturity they have no reason or mental abilities with which to dull the pain – they must feel it completely. Perhaps this does not entirely go away as one ages. Perhaps people are always little children, not only in the eyes of their parents, but in the presence of their parents. Here is a little poem that I hope gives some expression to the feelings of a child listening to his parents argue.

listen to the rain
and the closed door
don’t listen to them argue
turn the music up
not just in the room
but in your mind
where the argument continues
long after the sound stops
don’t feel powerless, child
don’t listen to the words
that you can’t drown out
because they’re not in your ears
don’t think about right and wrong
and peace and making up
think about clouds and stars and space
don’t think you’re too old now to cry
don’t think because thinking hurts
don’t listen
pull up the sheets over your head
pretend to be warm
pretend to be hugged
don’t cry

don’t be torn apart
	      because they are
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