I am glad I met you on the edge
Of your barbarous childhood
In what purity of pleasure
You danced alone like a peasant
For the stamping joy's own sake!
How, set in their sandy sockets,
Your clear, truthful, transparent eyes
Shone out of the black frozen landscape
Of those gray-clothed schoolboys!
How your shy hand offered
The total generosity
Of original unforewarned fearful trust,
In a world grown old in iron hatred!
I am glad to set down
The first and ultimate you,
Your inescapable soul. Although
It fade like a fading smile
Or light falling from faces
Which some grimmer preoccupation replaces.
This happens everywhere at every time:
Joy lacks the cause for joy,
Love the answering love,
And truth the objectless persistent loneliness,
As they grow older,
To become later what they were
In childhood earlier,
In a world of cheating compromise.
Childhood, its own flower,
Flushes from the grasses with no reason
Except the sky of that season.
But the grown desires need objects
And taste of these corrupts the tongue
And the natural need is scattered
In satisfactions which satisfy
A debased need.
Yet all prayers are on die side of
Giving strength to naturalness,
So I pray for nothing new,
I pray only, after such knowledge,
That you may have the strength to be you.
And I shall remember
You who, being younger,
Will probably forget.
Stephen Spender's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (A Childhood by Stephen Spender )
- because we're both globe-trotters, Mandolyn ...
- Interior Constraint, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Silent voice, DEEPAK KUMAR PATTANAYAK
- The Gentlemen For Me, Poetic Lilly Emery
- The eyes of the stars is the eyes of Sta.., Raymond Sawyer
- Let's Live in Peace, Tirupathi Chandrupatla
- I Dry My Tears, Poetic Lilly Emery
- Valley of an autumn's night, Raluca Mitra
- The stars that touch a rose is the star.., Raymond Sawyer
- *Halloween Stroll, Alice Vedral Rivera
Poem of the Day
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- If, Rudyard Kipling
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(1 February 1927)
- Heather Burns
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)