Little Willie Harper

This is the third of these brief character sketch poems that I’ve posted here on my blog. I’ve long loved the Tillbury Town sketches of Edward Arlington Robinson, poems that are simple without being simplistic. There are usually reflections of the profound in the commonplace and ordinary, and writing and reading about the simplistic usually helps me understand what is complex. This particular poem is about fear. Children running around a hundred peaceful acres in the throes of all childhood has to offer and adults navigating the complicated contours of life both experience fear. Though the adult faces situations far more fear-producing than the child, both experience the same emotions. The simple world of Little Willie Harper helps me see my fears for what they are, groundless under the sovereign and loving care of my Heavenly Father.

Little Willie Harper

Little Willie Harper knew
The terrors of the farm
The cocky bantam rooster
Could do him plenty harm

Easy would his skull give way
To any bovine hoof
If he climbed upon the shed
He might fall off the roof

And when he helped his father
While deep within the snows
He could become as Max McClain
Have frostbite claim his nose

As his feet fell in the grass
While running in the yard
The yellow jacket sentries
Might chase him fast and hard

Little Willie Harper could
Stay paralyzed by fear
Or he could become a man
Give fright no quarter here

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