The Outrageously Short Poem that Could Change Your Life (Or Your Kids’)

Readers — Here’s a poem to keep in your pocket…forever. It came to me by way of Bob Weiman, director of the lower school/assistant head of school at St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes in Alexandria, VA:

COME nzansdhndn
TO THE EDGE, by Christopher Logue

Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It’s too high!
And they came,
and we pushed,
And they flew.

Come to the edge.

Come to the edge.

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16 Responses to The Outrageously Short Poem that Could Change Your Life (Or Your Kids’)

  1. SKL October 3, 2014 at 9:07 am #

    This reminds me of a story from Japan (I believe) where the little kids were taking the superhero cartoons so seriously that a number of them jumped to their deaths trying to “fly” from their balconies. There was a public service announcement telling parents to talk to their kids and make sure they understand that superpowers are pretend.

    So you really should have put a warning in small print when you posted that poem. 😛

  2. SKL October 3, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    But seriously, this is a repeating experience at my house. My kids are taught by all sorts of forces, along with their own internal doubts, to fear independence.

    The latest was going and meeting the new neighbors, who have kids around the same age as my kids. It took a lot to get my eldest (almost 8) to go over there and introduce herself, but she did it. Now she knows it will not kill her to introduce herself to new people (including adults). Her 7yo sister refused to go over there until after she saw her sister chatting and not being struck down by lightning. 😛

  3. Mark Davis October 3, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    Beautiful. Just beautiful.

  4. Roger the Shrubber October 3, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    DISCLAIMER: This poem is an allegory. Children cannot fly. If pushed from a high enough cliff, your child will die. Please do not push your children from a cliff thinking that they can fly.

  5. Andrew October 3, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    Beachy Head is beautiful, isn’t it.

    I accept the sentiment, but that location is notorious for people coming to the edge to end their lives, around 20 per year.

  6. bobca October 3, 2014 at 11:47 am #

    As Kurt Vonnegut is quoted as saying…”I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”

  7. Reziac October 3, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    Don’t be silly. Every kid knows you have to take three running steps before the red jammies can fly. 😉

    Seriously, I suspect the issue in Japan may come from stuff like kids being taught that tamagotchi devices are “pets” — in other words, they’re taught that fantasy is reality, and kids *are* smart enough to extrapolate that in unfortunate ways (eg. if this electronic device is a pet that dies if I neglect it, maybe the red jammies really can fly).

  8. Harrow October 3, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    Well, most of them flew. Practically all of them, really.

  9. lollipoplover October 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    I love, love this.
    So many kids today don’t take chances and are filled with fear, especially irrational fears. No doubt because the signs posted about potential warnings that come with every edge.

  10. Emily Morris October 3, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

    Beautiful poem.

  11. Chris G. October 3, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    “Come to the edge, He said. They said, We are afraid. Come to the edge, He said. They came. He pushed them…and they flew.” Guillaume Apollinaire

  12. Andrew October 3, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

    Sorry, Chris G, but it is Logue, but often misattrbuted to Apollinaire. See,34313

  13. Brad Koehn October 3, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

    That poem is actually by Antoine de Saint Exupery.

  14. Val October 3, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

    Beautiful poem. Reminds me of a Sigur Ros video:
    You have to watch all the way to the end…

  15. Andrew October 4, 2014 at 8:34 am #

    Brad: I am very happy to be corrected, but can you give a citation for the attribution to Saint-Exupéry? The link I gave above, and various other sources, explain the confusion between Logue and Apollinaire, but don’t mention Saint-Exupéry.

  16. Chris G. October 4, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    Andrew – I stand corrected. Thank you for providing the link.