(c) Melinda Smith 2011

Not the Botany Bay Song

In Autism Poem on September 14, 2011 at 12:37 pm
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Poetry appearing on this page was produced with the generous support of artsACT

A bit of fun this week. I feel like we need it after the heavy going of First…Then… . This one is almost like the other side of that coin.

The thing that got me started writing this little ditty is the thought that, in my humble opinion, having a child with autism is not so much like a trip to Holland, as like being hauled against your will to an inhospitable wilderness with a bunch of strangers, dumped there and left to survive on short rations and daily floggings.  You make friends with your fellow prisoners, you adapt, and after a few years you can even see how to make a life for yourself in this strange new land – but you can never go home again…

Despite how depressing the previous paragraph may sound, the following is meant to make you laugh, as well as say a few things ASD parents and carers are not ‘allowed’ to say. Try singing it to the tune of ‘For we’re bound for Botany Bay’ (an old Australian popular song about the convict days, for those of you from other countries). 

Enjoy, and comments welcome.

Not the Botany Bay song

         : A Sea Shanty for ASD Parents and Carers

Ohhh….
Farewell to the high life forever
Farewell to my suits and my heels
For my child’s on the autism spectrum:
my career juggernaut’s lost its wheels.

Singing echo-lay, echo-lay, la-li-a
Singing meltdowns as public disgrace
Singing though we might live in Australia
It can seem we’ve been shot into space.

Well our home is all plastered with visuals
and we never have guests as a rule
and the unstructured horror of holidays
means we can’t wait to get back to school.

Singing maybe this thing is contagious
Singing I used to think I was fine
But now all of my best friends are therapists
– or they’re parents of children like mine.

Then there’s friendships and hygiene and puberty
and employment and learning to lie.
It’s a long row to hoe, that’s for certain sure
– and then who’ll step in when you die?

Singing once I was witty and erudite
Singing once I had beauty to spare
Now I bang on about intervention plans
and I think I’ve got lice in my hair.

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  1. Fabulousness in motion 😉 haha – it goes well with the tune.
    ‘Singing echo-lay, echo-lay, la-li-a’ – my boy was echolalic (not anymore thank goodness) under the age of 4. It’s all good (your poem that is), though I think some of the therapists do know what we put up with (I had the best speechie for my son) – I found many of the specialists actually had children with special needs (maybe that’s why they got into it).

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