I recall a time of hugs
Welcomes by a handshake,
        a kiss.

Now young children dutifully step
From the ‘danger’ of me,
        others, all.

They only run towards their friends
        Pull up

Embarrassed glances at their shoes
Shy peeks at each other.

Laughter breaks the frightened spell.
Chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter.
Their magic world

by Annika Perry

120 thoughts on “CHITTER-CHATTER

  1. Yes these measures and programming fear. Phycologically these children will never be the same.
    My own granddaughter who is nine, now stiffens and turns her head when I go to hug her. It’s broken my heart what has taken place. And more so given what I’ve researched since.
    Thank you for sharing 💖🙏

    1. Sue, I’m teary-eyed reading how your grandaughter now shies away from hugs with you … that must hurt so much. Whilst you know it is not personal, you can’t help missing her spontaneous signs of affection. I hope with time it will return but yes, it is a programmed sense of fear and I imagine the global population has been psychologically affected. For older children and adults we will still remember how it used to be. When my mother joined our ‘bubble’ (or pod as she prefers to call it!) my son was at first very cautious of coming too close to her, giving a hug but luckily quickly adjusted. He is 19 however. I know he misses the close contact with his friends, they used to hug as they met up, joss about … now much calmer and quieter … which feels so odd.

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comments across my recent posts – they mean a lot to me. xx ❤️

      1. Yes Physiological programming going on at the moment … Your son must miss his friends… He is wonderfully talented with his music… All will be revealed in due course but it is not going to be easy for anyone to grasp .. Keep your Heart Compass in tact and follow your intuition and what feels right Annika.. Sending Love ❤

        1. Sue, your last sentence really struck a chord with me tonight and I’m copying to keep by my side … I like the sound of the Heart Compass and for someone who has often been told that I think too much, maybe I need to listen to the Heart more. Thank you!xx

          1. Just follow what you feel is right and avoid what you feel is not right…. And many things at the moment are NOT RIGHT… That is all I will say… So just follow your heart… ❤ And you are most welcome… Thank YOU..

  2. Hi Annika – I enjoyed your poem. What strange times we’re in. I also wonder if our behaviors will stay this way, or if we will ever go back to our previous customs of greeting friends, old and new. I just watched a video of a local school principal celebrating his retirement. He walked through a group of socially distant teachers and parents who were clapping for him. One man reached out and grabbed his hand. I thought that was interesting, kind of wrong in a way, but his instincts took over in seeing his friend.

    1. Barbara, it is the most strangest of times and it’s not often in history where one has to stay away from each other when needing help and comfort the most. Heartbreaking experiences for so many. Oh, I can understand the man reaching out yet part of my brain is always on alert so don’t think I would do something like that – if one let’s one’s guard down many slip back to former behaviour. Hopefully after this we will all do once again – but many will be cautious I reckon.

  3. Excellent poem, Annika! What a strange year this has been! I wonder if our behaviour in public will have changed forever after this pandemic, or will we gradually slide back to doing what we feel comes naturally? I hope you and your family are all well xx

    1. Thank you so much, Clare! Yep, the strangest of years indeed and one we will never forget. I imagine we will drift back to ‘normal’ once it is safe to do so and we have confidence in that – although it will be a long while yet, I fear. We are all well, thank you and hope you all are as well. The weather here has been fantastic on the whole and a joy to be able to be out so much. xx

  4. Annika, Your poem brought tears to my eyes. I see all of these changes every day. My heart breaks for the different life for our children. It is as if an innocence has been shattered in such a short time. As Miriam Hurdle says “unnatural.”

    Yet, laughter and giggles still abound. Thank goodness for the children.💕

    You have such a gift with words, Annika. They have such depth of meaning and always make me feel emotional. Thank you for sharing your words and sharing your loving and intuitive spirit.❤️

    1. Dear Erica, I feel some of my posts should come first with an advice to have tissues to hand! 😀 Seriously, I am touched how my words reach your heart and it means so much to me to hear the effect of my poem. Oh, I’m blushing at your final sentence, bless you for your kindness. ❤️

      So true, this is all so ‘unnatural’, I don’t think we all realised how much us human beings depend on contact with others, not just hugs, but greeting each other with a handshake, a pat of comfort, the joy of contact sports, dancing together! So much lost and we feel keenly for the children for whom this makes no sense … definitely a sense of their innocence shattered and growing up in a very different world (for now at least.)

      Erica, wishing you and your family all well … love & hugs xx

      1. As you know, Annika, tears can help keep us healthy. The power of touch is still very important. I hope we can find a happy middle ground to keep all of us healthy. Have a great weekend, hopefully spending some time with your loved ones. xx❤️

  5. Wonderful poem depicting such an awkward moments for kids, Annika. It’s so unnatural for them. It’s exactly as you described, they ran up to each other only stop short by remembering what their parents told them. I surely hope that this won’t make a lasting impact on them.

    My daughter and her friends did get together to let my granddaughter and other girls to play naturally. They knew each other’s family practiced social distancing and has not exposed to Covid. So kids still have some limited time to play with each other.

    1. Miriam, ‘unnatural’ is just the word for these situations; where children normally fall into dancing hugs, they are reduced to stilted silences, then the giggles to bring back some normality for them. I too hope it won’t affect them in the long run, but also believe that it will stay with them even just a bit but they won’t be quite aware of the cause of their unease.

      Oh, how wonderful that your daughter could organise some playtime with others for your granddaughter – my one thought these past months is how alone my only son would have felt if he was much younger. As a teenager we had a suprisingly positive time as a family and he always has lots of uni work and music projects on the go!

      1. It’s good to hear you and your teenage son are having positive experience during the pandemic time. It encourages his creativity also for any project he wants to work on, especially the whole family is not going anywhere, might as well doing things as a family.

        My husband said this is like a second honeymoon to him because we’re doing things together all the time. Well, to me, I like to do something on my own, even thought just around the house.

        After the initial shock of feeling restriction, I accepted the situation and work on different projects also. I have a new normal and new routine, because the virus is dangerous and it may take a year to fade away.

  6. Oh Annika, this is so perfect for today’s world.You’re so right, “Laughter is such a tonic…” and we can count on the children to find the humor and the meaning in life. I am listening to Jill Biden tell us how she loves to teach – and the challenges of today’s silent classrooms… and the irreplaceable lives gone as a result of today’s pandemic. I so relate to her evenings grading papers – and the way LOVE makes us resilient. Children show us the resilience she describes. AND yes, the soul of America is is captured in the tonic of laughter. Thank God! And thank you for this beautiful poem. God bless you! ❤

    1. Jan, thank you so much for your insightful and uplifting comment … for three months here it was far too quiet. The usual giggle and chatter of children stopped overnight and that was nearly more eerie than anything. I hadn’t realised how it was such a part of my life … the return of laughter a lesson for us all. I am now intrigued to look at some of Jill Biden’s speeches, I haven’t seen anything about her but wow, it seems she’s captured the spirit of the country and the resilience of children and us all. Wishing you well and strength in these trying times. xx

    1. Thank you, Robbie. How true that it’s also so hard for teenagers and in some ways I wonder if not even tougher as they are just at the start of enjoying independence outside of the home; sharing a lot of time with friends. How are your two coping? Are the schools open again? My son was very creative and busy during the stay at home, taking it in his stride but must admit he’s got a huge smile on his face as he meets a couple of his friends now and then for picnics etc. He’s off to uni soon … of course I’ll worry a lot but he’s as carefu as possible. Oh, for the normal worries before all this! Xx

  7. This is a thoughtful piece of how new normal is changing the way we show live our lives. I fear though that when this is over, we might also forget how we used to be before the pandemic.

    1. Mich, that is exactly what I’m beginning to wonder as well … will we forget what it was used to before all this? I already find myself saying, ‘remember when …’ as if pre-March was history! One can’t but be particularly touched when one sees how even young children have so quickly adapted to the new normal. Hope you’re keeping well. Take care xx

  8. For so many young people, this will be what they think is normal and may be afraid by the new normal once this is all over. Sigh. A friend’s young son looked at a box of Lego characters and asked his mom why they weren’t wearing masks. 😦

    1. Betsy, first I’m teary-eyed at the young child wondering why the Lego characters are unmasked! Has it come so far? So quickly? One hope when it is safe the children will readjust easily to playing together closely once more. No doubt they will surprise us. As for adults, I imagine the caution will remain a lot longer.

      1. So sorry to have made you teary-eyed. The parents were quite sad about this development too. I think you’re probably right about the kids readjusting quickly but adults taking longer. We have so much to learn from children. 🙂

    1. Lavinia, thank you so much … although I haven’t particularly wanted to write about these times this poem came unbidden and expressed so many of my emotions and sights of the current world.

  9. If we read this poem a year ago, we’d have no idea what you (the poet) was talking about. What a difference a year makes. I found this poem winsome with a touch of wistfulness. I’ve seen exactly the tale you tell here in verse. The kids – they just keep smiling and not touching, still finding the magic in this Covid world. Well done!

    1. Pam, thank you so much for your wonderful thoughts on my poem; I’m blushing but overjoyed that you found it ‘winsome with a touch of wistfulness’. You raise a good point that a year ago this poem would have made no sense at all … how life has changed for us all throughout every area of our lives. It is reassuring and heartening how young people can still capture the magic around them, teaching us too not give up on it! xx

    1. Thank you so much, Norma … and welcome back. For various reasons, I’ve been absent here too until this poem. It is indeed a blessing to hear laughter these days, we all need it so much! Take care.

    1. Nikki, thank you, that’s a lovely thought! I’ve considered all the books, films etc that will be written about this era in the future … not sure I want to relive it too many times! Once is enough!

      1. Behind the Story

        I’ve heard that’s what happened with the 1918 pandemic: People wanted to forget it. The only literature from that period is a short story.

    1. Jennie, your words give me real hope for them (and us) all! Laughter is such a tonic and I’m finding I’m treasuring it more than ever, at first it felt false during these days but then realised an absolute necessity for everyone! The children figured this out much earlier though! Hope you’re keeping well and that you can safely see your students this coming Autumn. Xx

      1. Well said, Annika, and so true! We are still on unsure soil about how fall will be for children, but we will be opening school. Smaller groups, lots of guidelines, and uncharted waters for everyone. I must remember to laugh often. 😀

  10. Oh Annika, such an apt description and imagery of our current reality. But there’s still laughter, there’s still hope and there’s always magic in the air. Wonderfully written Annika. You’ve captured all of that in your words. Here’s to embracing that childlike wonder that still lives inside all of us. Hugs to you my friend. xx 💕🥰

    1. Miriam,I love how you see the magic and hope in my poem, through the lives of the young and yes, may we learn to capture the childlike within ourselves to feel equally free, unfettered by fear. Thank you so much for your special comment and beautiful thoughts. Hugs xx ❤️🌺

  11. We have new neighbours across the street with 2 little girls and they seem just as exuberant as ever. And my lovely neighbour, Marie, has her son and grandchildren here this week and you can hear their laughter across the street. Not so easy for ‘onlys’ and going back to school and a new year will prove more difficult for them, I think. But thank God, they’re adaptable! So were we, once upon a time… 🙂 🙂

    1. Jo, maybe we need to find that adaptable nature within us again! 😀 Seriously, this is something I’ve thought about as I watch the children change their behaviour to cope and I suppose we all are in our own ways. How delightful to hear the joy of the children in your neighbourhood, a normality which was sorely missing here in the first few months but a welcome sound again. I’m so grateful my son is not young during this time, as an only child I know he would have missed his friends terribly. As for schools, all plans are to go ahead in the U.K. but we are all learning that events change much quicker than the strategies put into place. Fingers crossed it works. Wishing you a peaceful Sunday … with a delicious cake or two along one of your beautiful walks! Xx ❤️

    1. Jacquie, thank you so much … it’s a cliche but the children are our future and that they can find a way forward through laughter and chatter gives me reassuring hope … much needed at the moment, xx

  12. Well said. I hope the chitter chatter can fill in until this is solved. Humans are meant to touch each other. Data proves it as does anecdotal events.

    This too shall pass, right Annika?

    1. Jacqui, history shows that everything does pass … but what will be before this is all too uncertain. Something I try not to dwell on too much. You’re right, the need to touch, interact with a touch, a hug, is integral to our being and the lack of this feels so unnatural, and ultimately as if we are losing a core part of ourselves. Yet, adapting we are and patience and fortitude is required in abundance.

    1. Thank you so much, Andrea … I wanted to mimic the childlike nature of the interaction through my words … so glad this came across. Hope you’re keeping well and safely back at work. Xx

    1. Janice, your use of ‘unquenched’ sums it all up! We are so in need is social contact, interaction, we don’t even realise what we are missing with all our heart! This scene was an powerful and poignant reminder to me.

    1. Liz, thank you so much for your great comment – I really appreciate it! It’s a scene I’ve witnessed many times around the village and I’m glad to have captured it here … think it was a bit cathartic for me too!

    1. Ju-Lyn, ‘nutty’ is definitely the word for our world today … and just when you thought it couldn’t get worse there’s something else! As you say, the resilience of the children gives me hope for the future.

    1. Debby, I trust it may be so … and why should it be different in these times than others in the past? Yet, it’s hard to witness and their confusion will probably stay with them after this, yet not quite understandable about the origin of their unease. Just a thought … xx ❤️

  13. There are things that can only be said in poetry and in the laughter and chatter of children. We may live in uncertainty, but we thrive with friendships and within community. That is our strength during difficult times. I LOVE your poem. Hugs!

    1. Rebecca, a huge thank you for your wonderful and uplifting comment … How true that friendships are at the heart of our existence and you’re a stalwart of the WP community and bringing us all together. ❤️

      It means a lot that you love my poem and although this is not my forte it’s a form I’m turning to more often, as you say, since it can ‘only be said in poetry’. Hugs, xx

  14. A wonderful poem. We were talking about this today. The children are living through an important piece of history. They will tell their children about this time of the pandemic. It is important that they have good memories of it. Children are better at accepting things as they are.

    1. Darlene, thank you so much! I like you’re point about children living through a world historic event and I’ve thought of this a lot. Their memories as with all times will be a mixture of good and bad … at least they’ve been able to stay with their immediate family, yet so hard not to see further families and play with friends, although this is all changing too. How true that children are always more resilient than we imagine … and us adults too!

  15. Morning pages do help stimulate creativity. I’m heading into the third year of mine, My nighttime journal last night brought up several good thoughts that I immediately wrote out. Great and sweet poem. This is a tragic situation for children because they can’t follow their natural instincts of approach and hug. I think this may change a whole generation of children in ways we don’t even realize yet. Hoping things get better soon.

    1. Marlene, wow! I’m impressed that you manage both morning pages and a nighttime journal as well … my morning pages alone are quite erratic as to their timings! I only took this up since March but have become hooked and as you say, it is a wonder what can develop from them.

      I think we’ve never for centuries had to consider what social beings we are and how central interaction with each other is to our daily lives. The confusion, hesitation and embarrassment on the children’s faces are visible as yes, they are going against their very nature to rush up and play with each other, greet their loved family members. I hope it will not affect them for the long term but time will tell.

      Wishing you well and hope you have a lovely weekend! Xx🌺

  16. Oh, Annika, so sad but perhaps children will be more resilient than we think. Now with my granddaughter again and she’s not yet three but she set up a whole series of toys in her bedroom for when her friends can come….

    1. Georgina, your comment and the image of your young granddaughter with her toys, waiting for her her friends to come and play has stayed with me! What an incredibly poignant image you paint and I wonder, did you hear my giant ‘ahhhh’?! Bless her … and I so hope she can have a whole roomful of friends, or even just one, round soon. I’m glad you’ve been able to come over to stay with your family a while … being apart across borders must be emotionally overwhelming. Take care and stay well. Xx 🌺

    1. Khaya, yes! The magic in the world, that sparkle that makes us smile, lift our spirits, seems to have been extinguished for so long now we almost forget its feeling! I do hope it returns for us all soon … in the meantime it’s a delight to here the younger children chattering away in a way only they know how, their giggles a joy for one’s soul! Hope you’ve had a lovely summer and been able to catch up with your writing! Love & hugs, xx ❤️

    1. Radhika, a lovely wish for us all in the world … and who could have imagined that something so little would become impossible, how we would all ache from its loss in our lives. So glad you liked the poem! Hugs xx ❤️

  17. Beauitful and poignant and sad, Annika. I’m glad the laughter and magic break through at the end. I feel so sorry for kids, especially the little ones who are losing important months/year of socializing, play, and hugs. I don’t know what my grandson would do with his step-siblings. I hope you’re doing well. It’s a strange time. ❤ Hugs.

    1. Diana, the first time I witnessed this scene between two neighbours children I held my breath, waiting to see what happened! The laughter broke through it all and it has been far too quiet around here without the chatter of children playing in the gardens, out on the street. Things slowly returning to … not even a new normal, I fear, as many changes yet to come, but at least a togetherness at a distance. Oh, I hope your grandson is okay and I bet he will love playing with his peers as soon as possible, although I imagine an initial period of unease and settling in. Yep, the strangest of times indeed … I’m finding it’s a matter of totally tuning out for a while then catching up on the craziness. I read about the news in America with horror and deep sadness … feel for you all. With much love xx ❤️🌺

      1. We’re a long way from the new-normal in the US, Annika. I think we’re committed to learning the hard way. I can relate to wanting to tune out. There are times when I want to cocoon. But I’ve kept the old blog going and the connections remind me daily that there are wonderful people all over the world. Be well, my friend. Hugs.

  18. Beautiful poem, Annika. My heart breaks for the children who aren’t able to head back to the classroom this year and see their friends. I feel truly blessed to have been born and raised in a different time. Stay well! ❤

    1. Thank you so much, Jill! I wrote a first draft of this yesterday morning as part of my morning pages and developed it from there. The many local children touch my heart dearly – the first weeks they still had to be reminded not to rush up and talk to me eagerly as usual but rather from a distance. Now they almost cower behind their parents. It was a relief to see them acting a bit more normally with their peer group.

      I feel for you all in America and read about the horrific new cases and death with deep sadness. The children must miss school and their friends terribly. All schools are due to open here in three weeks time, fingers crossed.

      Hope you’re keeping well and good luck with your upcoming book release! hugs xx ❤️

    1. Thank you, Kamal and it’s a delight to see children chatting amongst themselves again – they so need to be able to find the ability to be carefree again – I feel for how much they are going through as are we all. Glad you liked the picture … I spent a long time this morning trying to find something appropriate and finally came across this on pixaby.

  19. Mike

    Love this poem Annika. It brings home the current situation perfectly but also gives hope for the future led, as you would expect, by children and their optimism


  20. Oh, Annika, your poem is wonderfully written in a style that causes the feeling of drama.
    The hard and tough choices that also affects those who don’t really understand.
    As the drama builds in your stanzas I feel tears in my eyes as I can literally see these
    bewildered children.

    Pull up

    Bless them and may we come through safe.


    1. Miriam, thank you so much for your beautiful comment and kind words about my poem. It’s an honour how you feel I capture a sense of drama – something I hoped to achieve. Oh, the children are so bewildered. It’s too much for us ‘wise’ adults, no wonder the children look bewildered. Indeed, may we all come through safe and hope you’re keeping well, my friend! xx ❤️

    1. Absolutely, Laura!😀 In many ways I feel I’ve never left that child-like world and its wonder … so many children’s face have been sad and glum these months so it’s a delight to hear them weaving their magic words and worlds as they meet up!

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