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.