Years of Three
By Tammy C. Smith
An Animal Rights Poem from

Years of Three
By Tammy C. Smith

In a shopping cart sat he
Legs a-dangle, years of three

Big blue eyes and hair of red
All at once he stopped and said,

“Mom, who will this night's supper be?”
“You mean: WHAT, not WHO,” said she.

“Oh, no,” he shook his head and turned,
“These chickens here today I learned,

Each was born with a Mom and Dad.
Who took their baby? Aren’t they sad?”

“No!” said Mom, her eyebrow raised.
“These chicks were born for food, not play.”

“Oh,” he said, his legs now swinging,
“Was I born for food, or playing?”

“Silly boy,” said Mom with a laugh
“What in the world would make you ask?”

“Well,” he said with furrowed brow,
“What if some people took me now?

Would you and Daddy watch me go?”
“Son, watch you go? Never! No! No!!”

“Why do we eat chicks, not boys?
Were they bad? Making noise?”

“Son,” said Mom and picked him up,
“Chicks are food, boys are to love!”

“Did the chick’s Mom and Dad love him?
And Jesus, does he love chickens?

You know that song, Jesus Loves Me?
Does that mean people only?

Or does he love animals too?”
Her son did NOT see chicks as food.

She hugged him tight and shut her eyes.
How could she help him realize

The distance between boy and beast:
One the greater, one the least.

But in her heart her feeble search
Found no answer, found no words.

What could she say to give him proof?
Did she herself know the truth?

She’d always felt that question there:
The line of man and beast is: WHERE?

Why must I teach my child to kill?
I do not believe it’s God’s Will

That any creature lose her young.
Oh God, how much I love my son!

I’d give my life for his today
And yet I don’t know what to say.

His question was a valid one:
Why should a Mother lose her young?

To lose my son would kill my soul;
As a Mother I now know

The love you feel for your children,
Man or beast: would it be different?

And standing there the penny dropped;
Mom knew right then that she would stop

Teaching her son that flesh is meat,
That animals were his to eat.

Respect for them is what he taught
His own Mother, and she thought,

What else may he teach the world?
To her his wisdom shined like pearls.

Slowly, Mom knelt down with him,
Ruffled his hair and smiled and then

Fighting back tears she simply said
To those blue eyes, hair of red

“Thank you, son, for showing me
in your wisdom, years of three

That I am wrong, you are right
On our supper table tonight

Never again will be a WHO,
Vegetables and beans will do.

Now I see through your clear eyes
That I am the least, most unwise

In this world we live today
No mother’s child should ever pay

With their life to become dinner.
God made each and every creature.

Jesus loves animals, too,
Just like he loves me and you.

No animals will suffer fear
From you. Or me. Or Daddy, Dear.”

And from her words he found such peace,
He brightly smiled then yawned, happy.

This little angel, smart and wise
Had opened up Mom’s heart and eyes.

Right there in the grocery aisle
She saw the light in her own child.

With happy heart and soft step
Mom finished shopping while he slept.

Quietly Mom went to the car
Held her son gently to her heart,

Kissed his hair and touched his cheek,
Buckled him into his car seat.

Driving home Mom looked outside,
So much beauty! So much life!

Why did she never ever see
As her son, in years of three?

In her silent prayer she said,
Thank you, God, for hair of red

Eyes of blue and golden heart.
Give me strength – today I start

Being Mom to this little man.
Give him love, one day he can

Make this world a better place,
Teach compassion, never hate.

I shall never taint his mind
With selfish ways of humankind.

May his love and spirit grow
In all those things he seems to know.

I shall always give him praise
For his gracious heart and ways.

May I nurture all his dreams,
Teach him hope so he believes

That in his wisdom, years of three
In his heart will always be:
The day he taught his Mom to see
The world through his eyes, years of three.

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