The Ugly Grubling

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The sky was clear, the day was bright, the sun was smiling down

But on a branch, perched on leaf, one creature wore a frown

It didn’t matter that the day made others feel so glad

The happy faces all around just made this small grub sad

.

Just so you get to know him well and hear his problem too

Perhaps I should share details of this little soul with you

He’s small – as you already know – his name is Morgan Bligh

He’s thinks he’s plain and ordinary and that’s what makes him sigh

.

He’s not a caterpillar who, one day, will grow great wings and fly

He won’t become a butterfly no matter how he tries

He won’t build himself a chrysalis and emerge as something new

He’ll just stay brownish grey and grow – that’s all that he can do

.

He is a peripatus, a ‘velvet worm’ some claim

Or Onychophoran if you like a scientific name

And they don’t change as they grow up, not into something new

So Morgan feels a little drab when he admires the view

.

All round him nature’s creatures are all beautiful and bright

And, as he will compare himself, he feels an ugly sight

I want to help you understand, make truth not hard to find

And so, just now I’ll let you hear the thoughts in Morgan’s mind

.

*

“I’ve heard about the ugly ducking turning to a swan

And when he was quite beautiful, his troubles were all gone

I know every caterpillar builds his cocoon high

And bursts again into the world, a coloured butterfly

Alright for them! They’re ugly things – but only for a while

As soon as they turn beautiful, they’ve good reason to smile

Both those two creatures change so much, each gets a brand new name!

But what I’m called and how I look will always stay the same

Sometimes the insects laugh at me and call me cruel names

Then, even if they ask, I just don’t feel like playing games

My friends and family try to find some things that look alright

They say things like ‘Your skin’s so soft!’ and ‘Gosh, your eyes are bright!’

And even if those things are true (and I still doubt they are)

There are so many bad things that outweigh the good by far

Well, let’s pretend I had a face sweet as a magic elf

Who cares?! No one would look at it alone, all by itself

When people look at you at first, they don’t just see one part

They see you all, as one whole thing, right from the very start

So put it all together, look at me as someone would

And you would see a wormy thing whose looks aren’t pretty, cute or good

I’ll never change, I’ll stay this way forever, so you see

That’s the reason I’m so sad and full of misery

*

.

Now let us leave poor Morgan’s thoughts and look ahead to find

That what is going to happen will be sure to change his mind

As time draws on, this sad young thing will grow and learn and see

That it just doesn’t matter how he looks to you or me

.

The things that are important are the way he feels inside,

The things he likes, and says, and does – not if he’s tall or wide

Other like him now (and will in future) ‘cos he’s kind

He’s loyal and it’s true, a better friend you could not find

.

It isn’t logical for Morgan to compare himself

To swans and butterflies and things … and even to that elf

There is just no comparison – just as if you had thought that

You really looked quite odd when compared to your pet cat

.

We shouldn’t look and then find fault in the features we can see

What’s outside isn’t the important part of you and me

What’s underneath – our thoughts and feelings, how we act, how we behave

Those are the things that matter so think of the time you’ll save

.

When you stop examining your looks and those of others all around

And think of nice things you can do – then you will have found

That we’re all different on the surface so comparing makes no sense

And life will be about real things – you won’t feel ugly, sad or tense

.

When Morgan finds that out, he’ll leave his grumpiness behind

And as he grows and lives, he’ll be well-loved, happy and kind

But don’t forget as you grow up, that many feel this way

So when you hear someone call themselves ‘ugly’ you can say

.

I heard a story once about a grub called Morgan Bligh

Who felt the same as you, you know it even made him cry

But he wasted all those tears because the real friends that he had

Thought of him as kind and nice (and wished he wasn’t sad)

.

Those that mattered didn’t think about his looks, his face or skin

They didn’t notice if his legs were stumpy, fat or thin

They thought of him as funny, helpful, generous and good

They said he always listened, that he cared and understood

.

It’s what’s inside that matters, what you do and how you act

And so right here right now you should vow, make a pact

To stop thinking of looks and concentrate on what’s inside

It might not be easy right away but you’ll be glad you tried

.

Because, with practice, you will find you worry less each day

And focussing on thoughtfulness is clearly the best way

Morgan will find that out, everyone does as life slowly ticks on

So forget about the ugly duckling turning to a swan

.

And think about the peripatus, that little velvet worm

Who’ll learn a better lesson and then tell yourself, be firm

It doesn’t matter how I look, it matters what I do

And the same applies to other people – I know that it’s true

.

Kindness inside’s more beautiful than patterned flapping wings

And generosity is lovelier than glittery sparkling things

So if one day, I notice a small grub just passing by

I’ll smile and nod and thank the truly gorgeous Morgan Bligh.

.

*  *  *


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