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To an unknown child
The story behind the poem

I have to confess: the child was not unknown to me. He was the youngest child of a neighbor and he had sparkling brown eyes and an infectious laugh. I guess he must have been about three. I was fifteen (the age at which I wrote this poem) and I used to play with him, his older brother, my younger brother and sometimes his sisters. I was his partner when we played hide-and-seek in the meadow behind our houses, since he was too young to understand what he was supposed to do. I would hold his hand and run with him through the long grass, then, hidden behind a tree or bush, would distract him to make sure he didn't betray our whereabouts. I was enchanted by the feeling of promise which I sensed in this young life, although it was my mother who suggested the prism image.

by Damaris West

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