Songs for Children

When I was a young boy, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, and my great aunt. Mum and Dad both worked, so my brother and myself were looked after by Nanna, Poppa and Auntie Ann quite a lot of the time.

They put you in a big white sheet,
and tuck the corners in nice and neat.
Oh-oh-oh-oh, where will we be in a hundred years from now?

Auntie Ann would sometimes sing me a song. About how the world was evanescent and fleeting, and how in the end all things must die. This isn’t the song that any parent would sing to their children. There are some truths that are told by others.

They put you in a big brown box,
and cover you under six feet of rocks.
Oh-oh-oh-oh, where will we be in a hundred years from now?

Last night over dinner I was telling my girlfriend about this. She’s from Texas. It turns out that it was sung in the playground there when she was growing up; she was taught it by her schoolmates.

The worms crawl in and the worms crawl out,
they crawl in thin and they crawl out stout.
Oh-oh-oh-oh, where will we be in a hundred years from now?

And children across the world will be singing this song to each other long after I’m gone to dust. Because there are some songs that you can’t be sung by your parents, but that have to be learned by us all.

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