February 2, 2023


Writer's Showcase

Little Man You’ve Had A Busy Day

3 min read

Little Man You've Had A Busy Day

Just reading or writing those lyrics brings tears to my eyes. You may wonder what lyrics? To find out, dear reader, i ask you to read on.


I had what I see as the misfortune of a turbulent and fractious relationship with my mother. That relationship went on a very long while. She died when she was ninety-five. One time – during yet another ‘row’ when she was seventy-five – she said some words that are branded in my brain, “I’m too old to change.” So it is that the summation of my memories of my childhood relationship with her was difficult to change.

I remember lots of things that are unfortunate, regrettable, distasteful, hurtful, or just plain bad. To have such a summation is not a good thing: It leads to continual internal stress. For many years I wondered why it was that I could not remember any clear instances of a loving relationship with her.

Then, one day – long after she had died, completely out of the blue I came upon a this line on a web site, “Little man you’re crying”. It echoed somewhere very deep within me, and I had this vague recollection of my mother singing a song to me when I was very little. I researched the line and discovered, and remembered, the remainder of the lyrics. They are:

Little man, you’re crying
I know why you’re blue
Someone stole your kiddie car away
Better go to sleep now
Little man, you’ve had a busy day

Johnny won your marbles
Tell you what I’ll do
Dad’ll get you new ones right away
Better go to sleep now
Little man, you’ve had a busy day

You’ve been playing soldiers
The battle has been won
The enemy is out of sight
Come along now, soldier, put away your guns
The war is over for tonight

Time to stop your scheming
Time your day was through
Can’t you hear the bugles softly say
Time you should be dreaming
Little man, you’ve had a busy day

Just reading or writing those lines brings tears to my eyes, and I am filled with a sense of wholeness to realise that there was a time when I felt that unconditional love that a mother has for her child.

I am certain my mother loved me. Of that I have no doubt. The problem must have been that something, some aspect of emotion or mentality, perhaps of character, prevented her from expressing that love in the way that I wanted. The way that I needed. Maybe it was a two-way street, and I somehow didn’t express my love in the way that she needed.

Whatever, not only am I consoled by that vague memory of her singing to me as a child, but also by the realisation that she played an important part in making me who/what I am now. As I am pretty much happy about who I am, and am at peace with myself, I must offer up my thanks to my mum for being such an important part of that.


© Allen Ansell 2022



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9 thoughts on “Little Man You’ve Had A Busy Day

  1. This is a powerful piece, especially for those who have lost a parent. I lost my dad when I was 19, and even now, decades later, I still am pummeled by memories that seemingly fall from the sky. Memories I haven’t thought about in years appear as fresh as though they occurred just moments ago. I’m thankful you had this memory of your mother. I hope this leads to more memories of the love she had for you, soon to override the visceral tumultuous response currently residing in your memories.

    1. Thank you for your comments, Jenny. I have written about five or six pieces of poetry which relate to my relationship with my Mother. I have advanced to the position of being able to say (briefly): I appreciate that these things are passed. That relationship formed a part of my experiences which led me to the place I am in, and for that I am thankful and grateful. Everything serves a purpose.

  2. I have see this one elsewhere Allen, and I believe I commented there. And the same holds true, that one’s relationships with parents is complex – certainly mine was as well. I also think that the generation that lived through the second world war came out of it, finding it hard to demonstrate affection. The difference with today’s generations is noticeable.

  3. Having a painful childhood is bad for a growing child especially when it has to do with the mother. This is because, mothers have a tight connection with their kids.
    The hurting memories were clouding and didn’t give you a chance to see the affection she gave, and I’m happy you eventually stumbled out of it. Though the memories are vague, they played a vital role in shaping you as a person.
    This is a compelling piece.

    1. You kind of hit the nail right on the head, Jenny. In fairness to my mother, unknown to her, she took some slimming drugs in the early 1950’s and they were partly to blame I feel.
      I absolutely agree with you that, as with everything in our past, it influenced me to become what I now am, and as I am mostly comfortable in my skin, I must thank her for the part she played.
      Blessings, Allen

  4. Mother-son relationship is a deep-rooted bond. Love of a mother for her child is boundless and complicated. If she emotionally distant, it will be an unimaginable pain for a child. But, I may say that we are all short-sighted. Maybe, we see but in part, and we know but in part. So, I think she might have had a story which is incomprehensible to the child’s mind. But, as a adult, I really admire the way you are trying to overcome from this painful experience today, with new insight.

  5. I feel the author pain and the way this poem expresses the feeling a child had when felt that the love and affection of a mother was not enough. I lost my parent at an early age so i understand how it feels to never feel completely the love and care of your parent. I have learned that it is better to do our best as parents to show love and affections and be there for our children always.

  6. Kiula, I was only saying to a friend yesterday that as authors we can never be sure that our readers will interpret what we write in exactly the same way as we intend. But you seem to have hit the nail on the head with your interpretation of this poem. Thank you, and thank you too for commenting. Very much appreciated.

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