It’s time for another little non fiction piece and today I’m delighted to have this sweet poem by Jay. Non-UK readers might like to take note of the difference in age of consent between the UK and many other areas of the world. As Jay says, “I should point out that I am British and in UK the ‘age of consent’ (for both men and women) is 16. The voting age and the age for buying alcohol is, however, 18. And of course the age for buying assault rifles is 200. This was written with a particular media story in mind: both protagonists were teenagers and the older one (by a few weeks) was placed on the sex offenders’ register because the pair dared to love each other at just the wrong age. Their parents not only objected but called down the full force of the law. I think most police forces and prosecutors are more lenient today, but this was written a few years ago.“
Don’t forget you can check out the rest of Jay’s writing here!
While I wait, the clock chimes.
I note time’s passing and the hour
Of bewitchment nears,
Weaving the magic of years.
Can a single second add maturity,
Or responsibility of a sudden kind?
Does the right to roll home drunk and appear on the electoral roll
Depend upon a minute’s passing?
Is there a difference
(Like day and night, like dark and light,
Like sweet and sour, like here and gone,)
Between this moment and the next one?
I have been powerless to show my love
Until the new day proves you adult,
Just turned sixteen (and sweet, unkissed);
But soon we can consummate our dream.
What if the striking hour should turn you back
Into an ordinary man,
Available at last, no longer charmed?
Could that enchantment fade so fast? Before we find out, before time has had time
To trick our senses, plays with our love like a wanton god,
At exactly midnight I shall kiss you and say,
Wonderful! Love it! And here in Kansas there was a big flap a few decades ago when legislators did some investigating and found that there was no minimum age of consent here!
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There were all kinds of rules here – all based on age but with no rhyme or reason to them! A lawyer friend tells me there isn’t currently much interest if the younger one of the pair is over fourteen, though of course that will depend on things like whether the older one is in a position of any kind of authority (e.g. a teacher). Most of the anomalies have been ironed out so 16 is the age of consent for any and all genders, given the above caveat about teachers, family members, etc. There is still chaos when people arrive from another country where marriage is legal under the age of 16…
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I’d never realised just how piecemeal the whole thing was… You’ve really opened my eyes!
I think it was all such a ‘shambles’ that people not involved in relevant careers simply didn’t realise! I was working in multicultural education and we worked very closely with the equalities team. Otherwise I might well have needed my eyes opening!