Shadows of the children play
In lands they never know
Giving rise throughout the day
To shivers where they go
In and out and round about
The game they tango through
The this is how you play they flout
Heedless of every cue.
Sticks and stones, they say, and wink,
And all know what that means
‘We don’t care what others think
We’ll call you fags, queers, queens.
We believe the oft-said lies
Words and names harmless bounce
We scream the insults to the skies
Lie in ambush, wait to pounce
On the ones who different stand.’
‘Break my bones,’ the others say,
‘Better than the words you planned,’
Where cardboard children prey.