There was something wrong with the adults I always thought
When I was young... when I was little
The Grown Ups
There was something, well something missing in them
They seemed a bit preoccupied, a bit faraway by times,
Maybe it was the great responsibility they had, looking after us
Or running after us, we used run around a lot back then,
Out on the beach under the big blue sky
On our way out to meet the tide
The wonderful colourful houses of the village seen from afar,
With the big chapel on the hill
And the lovely blue mountains of the headland sloping down to the sea
We'd be lost in the joy and excitement of the moment, thinking
"Isn't this wonderful, isn't it amazing, this thing called Life, Wow!!!"
And Mom she'd be there with us, tagging along
And on her face this kind of... kind of lonesome smile
There seemed to be a great sadness in them somewhere
They didn't seem to have the same joy that we had
Etched on their faces was something else, something haunting
Days of struggle and hardship... and pain.
Their own parents had died when they were very young
They used tell me, tell me gravely
"One day, one day we won't be here son"
And you'd go off to school feeling very tearful inside
Hardly able to do your lessons, mulling over those terrible words,
And at night in bed, you'd listen for their voices downstairs
And if you couldn't hear them, you'd get up and sit on the landing listening intently for their spoken words
So as to be reassured, that they were still there,
That they hadn't gone away and left you.
The adults they loved to sit and talk and drink tea
We didn't like talking much, that was boring stuff
(We liked the biscuits though)
We wanted to be outside playing, up and about
Yea! We wanted action and adventure instead
Playing games, kicking football up the garden
Running down the wing, shooting for goal, scoring!
O! the thrill of it all,
Or playing soldiers, cowboys and Indians
Or down the beach among the rocks exploring
Whereas we probably lived a lot still in our bodies
And in the thrill of the moment
(I remember I used talk to parts of my body when I was very little, when there was no one else around)
The adults they seemed to live in their heads most of the time
Locked away up there in their lonely towers
Adults I suppose had decisions to make.
Often Mom would find it hard to keep up with us
We could get away with a lot of things with Mom
But it was different though when Dad would come home
Then the atmosphere in the house would change
There'd be this strange tension
The Dads they were strange ones
They were like that Rodin sculpture "The Thinker" (a man bent over thinking)
You'd watch them warily, and move around them very carefully and quietly
You'd have to have your antenna switched on
You didn't know which mood would be on them
Whether they were going to be gentle or flare up like a firestorm.
The Dads they used to drink beer and black stuff, the Guinness
Sometimes they'd give us a sip
Ugh...the taste of it, it'd give you the creeps
You'd think " How do you drink that stuff and Why!!!
It wasn't sweet like orange or lemonade
It was another mystery, the strange world... the strange world of the adults.
(Once while walking along the beach we came across this well dressed young man fast asleep behind the sea wall
Lying on the cold ground, a few empty beer cans beside him
Of course we didn't know yet about people getting drunk
We were very puzzled at this scene, we looked at one another baffled
Why did he want to sleep there for ?
Did he not have a home to go to and a bed to sleep in ?
What we were looking at was the World... the strange world of the adults).
The Dads they were always watching the News and talking politics
Once when we were on holiday down the country at our Auntie's place
We were outside playing football
While my Dad and Uncle were inside drinking and talking politics
Arguing heatedly about who was right and who was wrong
Suddenly they both appeared in the doorway, all smiles and strangely jolly like
They said they wanted to join in, in our game
Something they'd very rarely do
I remember looking at them and thinking
These people...these people are in pain
I was so afraid they might fall and hurt themselves
I thought them that fragile
I was afraid to tackle them properly for the ball
I thought I should only pretend
Should let them win, let them score a goal
"Maybe then," I thought, "maybe then they'd be happy".
They seemed to be always trying their best
But being reined in by their limitations
One Christmas I remember, I wanted things, exciting things, toy soldiers, electric cars, a toy gun
They gave me this small model passenger plane, wasn't even a War plane (no fancy machine guns or rockets)
And this cheap little plastic antique globe of the world thing
I looked to see was there any treasure marked on it, but no!
I was so disappointed, these were ****** presents, not what I wanted at all
But when I looked in their faces, at the expectancy there
Them expecting me to be overjoyed and delighted with what I'd got
I felt this huge pity and sorrow for them,
So I smiled back at them and pretended their presents, they were the best presents of all.
There was this tragic sadness about them, the adults
Almost like they weren't feeling the joy anymore, that for them the magic had gone out
Like the little child within them had all but died
You realized that what you were feeling was probably something they no longer felt
They were off lost in some other world
Overrun with cares and worries and fears
Yea, there was something wrong with the adults I always thought
When I was young
When I was small.
The Child is father to the man, someone once wrote. I sometimes do paintings of my past and when I do, I remember things. Although the memories above are often sad, there were a lot of happier memories too. Given the lives they had and the times, they were truly heroic people.....This is a poem of memories/recollections from early youth & how the young child views the strange often dysfunctional world around him. Children instinctively know their good and beautiful when their young because they can feel it inside them, it's the time their closest to their source, where they've come from. There's this natural beauty present inside them which gives them a great strength. Unfortunately this is rarely investigated & explored. Instead the child is packed away to school where their taught they must compete with their fellows & that their worth as a person depends solely on how they perform at school. School often produces strain though and struggle in the child & by the time they reach secondary school, the traces of that early natural beauty have greatly diminished, & sometimes tragically become just a distant memory. -I suppose this is just a homage to that special time and to those early feelings of Joy.