Reflective/Discussion Poems

By Josie Whitehead

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By Josie Whitehead

Lessons from the Past

Many children in the forties

      Saw their parents go to war,
Because things that happened in our world

     We couldn’t just ignore.


We’d no money in our pockets,

      Little food upon our plates,       
So we couldn’t pick and choose our meals,

     But everything we ate.

There were very many people

      With no bathroom in their home
And how do you think we managed

      Without the telephone?

The books we had were luxuries

      And parents made our toys.  
The computer came upon the scene

      For future girls and boys.

If your family had a garden

     They grew vegetables to eat.
In the war years there was rationing -

     We seldom had some sweets.

Our mothers made the clothes we wore

      And cooked the meals we ate
And we couldn’t leave the table

      Leaving food upon our plate.
We shared our books with others

     And they also shared with us. 
We walked to where we had to go

      Or sometimes went by bus.

Some pram wheels with a box

     On top gave many hours of fun
And we seldom spent our days inside

      But played out in the sun.


Then without the television

     We’d invent some games to play, 
Or we’d safely meet up with our friends

     And wander round all day.

Another thing which happened,

     That I know you won’t think 'cool' -
Many teachers used to cane us

      If we misbehaved at school.

Our homes were never burgled -

     There was nothing much to steal!!
And we shared whatever food we grew

     With neighbours for a meal.

We knew those in our village -

      People seldom moved away.
We were confident these kindly folk

      Were in our lives to stay. 

City children weren’t so lucky.  

     They were moved away from home,
But discovered in the country

     Lots of space in which to roam. 

Both at home and in our Sunday schools,

     We learnt to love and care
And we understood that things we had

      Were meant for us to share.

Do you think that modern children

      Could learn lessons from the past?
Or perhaps you think, as I do,

      That the world has changed too fast.

What lessons do you think we could

       Be learning from this age? 
Well, take a piece of paper home

       And try to fill the page.

Copyright on all my poems





This popular poem was one of almost 400 chosen by teachers and children for publication in my book: "Reflections" which was published in 2010 by AMS Educational Publishers, Leeds.  I hope you like it also.  Josie