‘Timothy Winters comes to school
With eyes as wide as a football-pool,
Ears like bombs and teeth like splinters:
A blitz of a boy is Timothy Winters.
His belly is white, his neck is dark,
And his hair is an exclamation-mark.
His clothes are enough to scare a crow
And through his britches the blue winds blow.
When teacher talks he won’t hear a word
And he shoots down dead the arithmetic-bird,
He licks the pattern off his plate
And he’s not even heard of the Welfare State.
Timothy Winters has bloody feet
And he lives in a house on Suez Street,
He sleeps in a sack on the kitchen floor
And they say there aren’t boys like him anymore.
Old Man Winters likes his beer
And his missus ran off with a bombardier,
Grandma sits in the grate with a gin
And Timothy’s dosed with an aspirin.
The welfare Worker lies awake
But the law’s as tricky as a ten-foot snake,
So Timothy Winters drinks his cup
And slowly goes on growing up.
At Morning Prayers the Master helves
for children less fortunate than ourselves,
And the loudest response in the room is when
Timothy Winters roars “Amen!”
So come one angel, come on ten
Timothy Winters says “Amen Amen amen amen amen.”
Timothy Winters, Lord. Amen’
This poem was written by Charles Causley in the 1950s. He was a primary school teacher and this account is based on a real child.
Research has linked exposure to abuse, neglect and other forms of severe adversity in childhood to a wide range of mental and physical illnesses including cancer. This understanding can make a profound change in the way we prevent illness.
Parenting is an art form that should be taught formally to all prospective parents. People too often think of “trauma” as something extreme, like being directly physically abused, but there are so many ways, on a continuum, trauma can occur and one’s perception of a situation can cause it to have a traumatic effect, even if the “perpetrator” didn’t intend to abuse.
Good parenting has to be one of the most difficult jobs in the world.