Memories of Childhood

Adventurous summer holidays,
a time of make-believe,
when every hidey-hole was a fort
and monsters lived in trees.

Imaginations running wild,
we made up our own fun.
Roaming fields and woods together,
playing in the sun.

Exploring all the world around us,
poking holes in every place,
curiously searching for something new,
somewhere to call our space.

Winter’s bite brought snowball fights,
building snowmen was the best.
Waking early on Saturdays
to watch a VHS.

No real concept of the future,
we lived for every day.
Concerns of war and strife were distant,
just actors in life’s play.

The future, now, is hard upon me,
I live to pay the bills.
War and strife are ever-present,
our politicians’ will.

Winter’s bite brings stalling car,
a house that doesn’t heat.
Counting pennies from day to day,
do I have enough to eat?

Exploring now feels tiresome,
I’ve seen it all before.
I won’t go out, I’ll stay at home,
and remember to lock the door.

Imagination running wild,
I make up my own fun,
roaming better worlds inside my head,
avoiding carcinogenic sun.

The fields, now paved, offer no adventure,
the trees no monsters hold.
The time of make-believe is over,
now that I’ve grown old.

~


This poem is inspired by Jade M. Wong’s nostalgic poem about childhood, which you can read here.

When I started writing this poem, I didn’t intend for it to end so bleakly. But I grew up in a place that was relatively rural, at a time when technology was less pervasive (no mobile phones, for example). On school holidays, it was common for us to head out the front door after breakfast, and not come home until the sun was touching the horizon (except perhaps for lunch, if we were hungry enough). Parents were less worried about their children encountering dangers such as strangers, terrorists, drug dealers, vicious dogs and politicians, and through the haze of memory, it seemed a more innocent and carefree time.

The grassy fields in my poem, which were directly behind my house and home to ponies, are now a new-build housing estate. The untamed woods were turned into a wooded area snaked with stone-chipped paths, to allow pedestrians and dog-walkers to cut easily through from one housing estate to another. VHS players and tapes have slowly faded (though I still tape (verb) programmes I want to watch) and we no longer get snow in the amounts we used to.

But at least the sun remains. Scientists are undetermined on whether the sun is good for us, or going to kill us all. It could go either way.

11 Comments on “Memories of Childhood

  1. The haikus are fantastic! I agree with the feeling—though we’ve reached retirement, which is kind of like having childhood back, only with aches and pains.

    I’m going into the woods // This grown-up world is no fun // Nice I can leave it

    Your VHS reference—you youngster! When I was a kid we had to watch whatever (black-and-white) cartoons were on the 3 channels we got. But we had woods. Oodles of woods.

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      • Sure. But even when I was in college, you mostly rented them along with the video. I guess by then some people owned them. Not us. When I was a little kid, they hadn’t even been invented yet.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh yes – I think we only ever owned 3 videos… the rest were rented – a Friday night treat 🙂 In the game of “how many times can you watch a video before it has to be returned to the store” I think our count was about 5 in a 48 hour period.

          Like

  2. The line about VHS sent me on a flashback and I was temporarily confused as to what decade it was. Talk about nostalgia, TUS 😂

    I love the mirrored parallelism of your poem. It’s clever and really hits home the reality of growing up: how all the magic we saw in the world as children fades away when we become adults. It’s bittersweet and poignant, and it emulates the journey of child to adult. The reader grows up with the speaker of the poem. Really well done.

    Liked by 1 person

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