Childhood is me.
I can only grow out of it,
branch through it,
perhaps grow round about it.
But keep it as the heartwood
of my tree.
Like a bus pass or a donor card,
you never know how soon it
may be needed.
Keep it in your left hand ticket pocket,
You need the giggle-trigger, after all,
to cope with sex or politicians,
the didactic bore.
How could a world
containing camels, centipedes, seahorses
not have a childlike
Where foolish fear to tread, childhood
is there –
joy, like the primal sunrise of the earth,
harm, a black hell’s despair;
expecting sense, goodwill of all the world,
not the coiled spring of evil
Can childhood me with vulnerable shell,
survive through life,
In letting joy and hurt of it press hard,
is there still
The talent for such hurt has payment given,
rich but priceless.
In childhood every art’s the art of living;
each day a kind of play
where you may find,
through few and tiny doors of wonderland
glimpses of heaven
© Adrian Campbell,1998