Don’t smile please
Since the primary school is next door
You can’t help passing the playground
But don’t you smile at the children
Whether a small girl or a little boy
Don’t you even look
You know what people will think
And you really can’t blame them.
What a world we live in! What went wrong?
If there’s another world to come
Let’s hope it’s one where people smile
And you can smile back safely.
Once they asked you to return their ball
It had sailed over the palings –
Eyes cast discreetly upwards, you stepped
Into the street and were nearly run down
Still, a little boy said ‘Thank you, mister’
A small girl almost smiled.
from Collected Poems (Carcanet, 1999), copyright © D J Enright 1999, used by permission of the author’s Estate.