by Claudia Ravaldi

Then you will find the way to yourself

leads to the island that is not there

I met Peter Pan as a child in the Disney version: if I think about it, the image of an atypical kid comes to mind: restless and enthusiastic, bizarre and engaging, and at the same time alone, distant.

A magical and cheeky child, different from other children. Without the routine of children. Without children’s rules. And without a shadow, lost, and then found again, which does not want to know that it is in its place.

An agitated and overwhelming kid. A boss. The leader of the Lost Children, who live with him in Neverland.

I distinctly remember the irritation towards Wendy’s father, who between a gala dinner and the other establishes that Wendy must grow up and stop telling fairy tales and believing in fairy tales.


I distinctly remember my shared joy following Wendy’s rebellion, who without thinking about it half a second flies from the window to Neverland, claiming the right to her times and choices, in spite of impositions from above. for no reason.

The reading plan I made of Peter Pan as a child stopped there.

That Peter Pan was dead, and the Lost Children too, I wasn’t ready to accept it. This interpretation, which has its roots in James Matthew Barrie ‘s troubled family history, has remained confined to the unconscious for many years.

Then I also met Peter Pan, because I became the mother of a Lost child.

And that story of shadows and pirates and flying children has taken on many other meanings, finally accessible.

Still scary, even more so, because in the midst of mourning, but suddenly clear.

In the story of Peter Pan there are Lost Children, the Lost Boys, who have fallen into oblivion.

There are adults who distance themselves from the mystery of lost children and Peter Pan, from what is not seen, not measured, not understood.

Like, for example, the pain of a child born already dead or lived only for a whisper.

Where adults do not understand why “we get attached”, what it is for. Where adults have closed the door to magic.

The magic of Peter Pan lies in the possibility of being able to move freely between his island and the land, and this magic has a price to pay.

Peter Pan pays for his magic the impossibility of totally belonging to only one of the two worlds and remains confined in this suspended space, between heaven and earth.

Peter Pan looks like a mother, busy with the children on earth and the Lost Children, who have to be taken care of in some way. A special mother, like many I have seen in recent years, poised between her motherhood, her affections, her losses and her conquests.

Peter Pan also has another magic: that of being able to be seen by children, who await him with admiration and anxiety.

Peter Pan’s condemnation, however, lies in being invisible to adults: as he grows up, all his fellow adventurers are destined to forget him.

Peter Pan faces grief. Infantile and perinatal mourning, of course, but also the mourning of incommunicability, of change, of passages.

The magic of Peter Pan lies in talking to us about losses, pains, detachments and at the same time about conquests, passages, evolutions.

Peter Pan, together with the Darling brothers, talks to us about resilience and adaptations that bring with them many emotional nuances.

Not just joy, oblivion or peace of mind. Nothing firm and defined.

On the contrary, Peter Pan makes us come into contact with numerous human emotions in his coming and going among Lost Children, Pirates, forgetful adults and adventurous and admiring kids.

Peter Pan does not belong entirely to our world, but he is symbolically alive, very much alive and for this reason a source of great inspiration for the children of the Darling family and for us, who for decades have been reading it, watching it, making it read to children.

In order to grow, children also need to access spaces that adults fear and prefer to stay away from. Preventing children from accessing uncomfortable spaces is a way for adults to protect themselves from this inconvenience, and it becomes a lost opportunity, in terms of developmental and growth paths.

The relationship with the beginning and with the end, with life and death, exploring the boundaries of the unspeakable, in ways and times appropriate to the age and development of the individual and of the peer group, is part of the evolutionary process.

To fly and to be able to return, without running the risk of being confined within oneself, within one’s childhood or, in our specific case, within one’s own mourning, it is necessary to learn to believe in oneself and face one’s pirates.

The condemnation of Peter Pan, which certainly makes him magical but not so reassuring and harmless, and therefore feared by adults, lies in telling us about choices to be made, inevitable missteps, pirates to fight against, necessary loneliness and emancipations. tiring. Breaking free from the yoke of mourning is tiring. But not impossible.

“I bring you a mother to tell you the fairy tales and you hit her?” He says, angrily, to his Lost Children, too inexperienced with care to recognize a Mother at first sight.

Peter Pan speaks to us of care, of remembrance, of memory, of islands that are there even when they are not at hand: even when we are not willing to accept that they are there.

It speaks to us of the effort of finding one’s own space, and one’s own path.

She asked him where he lived.
“Second star to the right and then straight until morning,” Peter replied.
“What a funny address!”. Peter felt lost. He realized for the first time that perhaps it really was a funny address.

Edoardo Bennato
Second star on the right
this is the way
and then straight, until morning
then you will find the road by yourself
leads to the island that is not there.
Maybe this will seem strange to you
but the reason
he took your hand a little bit
and now you are almost convinced that
there cannot be an island that does not exist
And to think about it, what madness
it’s a fairy tale, it’s just fantasy
and who is wise, who is mature knows it
cannot exist in reality! …
I agree with you
there is no land
where there are no saints or heroes
and if there are no thieves
if there is never war
perhaps it is the island itself
which is not there. which is not there
And it is not an invention
and not even a play on words
if you believe it, that’s enough for you
then you will find the road by yourself
I agree with you
no thieves and gendarmes
but what kind of island is it?
No hatred and no violence
neither soldiers nor weapons
perhaps it is the island itself
that there isn’t … that there isn’t
Second star on the right
this is the way
and then straight, until morning
then you will find the road by yourself
leads to the island that is not there.
And they make fun of you
if you keep looking for it
but don’t give up because
who has already given up
and laughs behind you
maybe he’s even crazier than you
You can listen to the song here in Alex Britti’s version

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