A Better Question

I’ve heard the question asked, "Why do we need poets?" One of the best responses I’ve seen so far has been, "because we don’t pay them enough to lie to us." Here’s another offering from my favorite poet across the ocean.

a better question


that dead-tired question inflicted on a child

a thousand times or more:

“what do you want to be when you grow up?”

an adult’s conversational gambit

elicits a Pavlovian response:

fireman, doctor, nurse,  policeman

from the child who (hopefully)

has never smelled a building burn,

never delivered news of death,

believes in Good and Bad.

A chuckle, a pat on the head, a moment wasted.



“what are you now?”

a start on the question

that most never ask or answer

even when they grow up.


P Ferenczi




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19 Responses to A Better Question

  1. Marge says:

    Ahhh…The acorn falls not far from the tree, my friend.
    Have a great week! 
    Peace and Love.

  2. K says:

    That was excellent…. loved it.

  3. Charlotte says:

    so true… thank you.. hugs,

  4. Brian says:

    That made me grin broadly.  Thanks for that.

  5. Christopher says:

    Thanks for dropping by!! I\’ll be back tmr!

  6. Kathryn says:

    Ah, that is insightfully wonderfully said…..

  7. Gelati Farms says:

    THAT was amazing.  The most magical thing about children is they seem to understand how to live in the \’now\’.  As adults, we have forgotten how to do that.  Why is it that instead of trying to learn from them, we spend more time trying to bring them down to our level.
    I have asked my daughter what she wants to be and one time she wanted to be a fire hider.  Now, she has decided to be a cat teacher.  I love when other grown-ups ask her the question.  They never know quite how to respond to her answers!
    Please tell your son…it is your son right?…that I loved that poem. 
    p.s.  I read your thank you, and I am now a regular visitor to your site.  Would you mind if I added you to my list? 

  8. Deirdre says:

    Now that\’s poetry!

  9. Cheryl says:

    Excellent!  I have asked numerous kids what they want ot be when they grow up.  It forces them to focus on the future rather than the here and now.  Waht a mistake I have been making.  Thanks for this lesson…

  10. Gayle says:

    Yes, that is the real question.  I enjoy the way you make me think, Jorge!

  11. Lakota Clay says:

    I will remember that.  Thank you.  L.

  12. Nellie O Apple says:

    Hello J,
    Thank you for your visit. I hope you\’re all right.
    About the poem, how I wish I am a child 🙂 I missed my parents especially my mother. They\’re all in heaven…

  13. Moon says:

    That was great!

  14. A Utah Woman Am I says:

    I have to agree that your favorite response is also one of mine as well.  I will have to tell some of the English majors I have met along the way that saying. 
    In answer to the latter question, what am I now?  I am merely a person who is trying to make it through everyday  But much like the poem states, it is one that I have yet to really ponder and certainly must as time progresses.
    In life, we shouldn\’t be afraid to ask the tough questions.  And I thank you for doing so.
    Take care,

  15. Pamela says:

    Hi Jorge,
    Great post as usual…
    Thank you for dropping by my blog…and for the word of encouragement…you\’re good at that too!
    Be Well.

  16. Christopher says:

    Nice! It is seldom that I come across poems that are insightful from a practical point of view. Most poems are dreamy and wishful, which is nice too, but this is different, more insightful, questioning and to the point..
    So true about how parents always try to put their own ideals on their kids. This never lets the kids have their own dreams and find themselves first.
    Thanks for dropping by mate!!
    Take care,

  17. Aafrica says:

    how wise is that!

  18. Magenta says:

    Very interesting perception.

  19. Fructose says:

    I would like to post comment in your last entry but I can\’t sign in so I try here and it works. I realized I should be thankful for what to day has to offer. Be safe and have a great trip!

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