Childhood Poems - Poems For Childhood

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Childhood Ideogram - Poem by Larry Levis

I lay my head sideways on the desk,
My fingers interlocked under my cheekbones,
My eyes closed. It was a three-room schoolhouse,
White, with a small bell tower, an oak tree.
From where I sat, on still days, I'd watch
The oak, the prisoner of that sky, or read
The desk carved with adults' names: Marietta
Martin, Truman Finnell, Marjorie Elm;
The wood hacked or lovingly hollowed, the flies
Settling on the obsolete & built-in inkwells.
I remember, tonight, only details, how
Mrs. Avery, now gone, was standing then
In her beige dress, its quiet, gazelle print
Still dark with lines of perspiration from
The day before; how Gracie Chin had just
Shown me how to draw, with chalk, a Chinese
Ideogram. Where did she go, white thigh
With one still freckle, lost in silk?
No one would say for sure, so that I'd know,
So that all shapes, for days after, seemed
Brushstrokes in Chinese: countries on maps
That shifted, changed colors, or disappeared:
Lithuania, Prussia, Bessarabia;
The numbers four & seven; the question mark.
That year, I ate almost nothing.
I thought my parents weren't my real parents,
I thought there'd been some terrible mistake.
At recess I would sit alone, seeing
In the print of each leaf shadow, an ideogram—
Still, indecipherable, beneath the green sound
The bell still made, even after it had faded,
When the dust-covered leaves of the oak tree
Quivered, slightly, if I looked up in time.
And my father, so distant in those days,
Where did he go, that autumn, when he chose
The chaste, faint ideogram of ash, & I had
To leave him there, white bones in a puzzle
By a plum tree, the sun rising over
The Sierras? It is not Chinese, but English—
When the past tense, when you first learn to use it
As a child, throws all the verbs in the language
Into the long, flat shade of houses you
Ride past, & into town. Your father's driving.
On winter evenings, the lights would come on earlier.
People would be shopping for Christmas. Each hand,
With the one whorl of its fingerprints, with twenty
Delicate bones inside it, reaching up
To touch some bolt of cloth, or choose a gift,
A little different from any other hand.
You know how the past tense turns a sentence dark,
But leaves names, lovers, places showing through:
Gracie Chin, my father, Lithuania;
A beige dress where dark gazelles hold still?
Outside, it's snowing, cold, & a New Year.
The trees & streets are turning white.
I always thought he would come back like this.
I always thought he wouldn't dare be seen.


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Poems About Childhood

  1. 51. Childhood Ideogram , Larry Levis
  2. 52. 'A Missed Childhood' , Linda Winchell
  3. 53. Childhood , Mr. Bean
  4. 54. The Sour Stench Of Childhood , Mary Nagy
  5. 55. A Walk Through My Childhood , Joseph Anderson
  6. 56. A Childhood , Stephen Spender
  7. 57. Childhood , Victor Osorio
  8. 58. Childhood Revisited , Arti Chopra
  9. 59. *poem 4 My Childhood Bestie Tmb* , SmashLey Sweetie Simons
  10. 60. ! Childhood Circles Around , Michael Shepherd
  11. 61. # Childhood Imaginations , astaldo ELVEN
  12. 62. Childhood Memories , Christine Kerr
  13. 63. Len Webster's 'Childhood Is...' , Len Webster
  14. 64. Childhood Memories , dr. ram sharma
  15. 65. Changing Your Life In Childhood(For Mich.. , Dónall Dempsey
  16. 66. Jesus Of My Childhood , Uriah Hamilton
  17. 67. My Childhood , Kiera R Lewis
  18. 68. Childhood Pain , Yassar Ali
  19. 69. Childhood , Pali Girl S...
  20. 70. My Childhood Friend , Theresa Ann Moore
  21. 71. I Am A Lot Wiser Now Than In My Childhood , Aldo Kraas
  22. 72. I Look Through My Childhood , Savio Antonio Vogt
  23. 73. A Childhood Lesson , Pete Crowther
  24. 74. My Innocent Childhood , Zeya Mallick
  25. 75. Childhood , Ananth Patri
  26. 76. Childhood Home , Theresa Ann Moore
  27. 77. A Place From Our Childhood , David Harris
  28. 78. Childhood At The County Fair , Walterrean Salley
  29. 79. Happy Childhood Memories , Francis Duggan
  30. 80. Childhood Happiness. , DICKSON MSETI
  31. 81. Stolen Childhood , Lail Reveal
  32. 82. My Fondest Childhood Memory , Dee Daffodil
  33. 83. Death Of A Childhood , Mary Nagy
  34. 84. Dad's Childhood. , Gillian.E. Shaw
  35. 85. Childhood Is Calling , Jim Milks
  36. 86. Childhood For Sale , Amy Marie
  37. 87. Flashes From Childhood 1. The Clydesdales. , Margery Rehman
  38. 88. Childhood Friend , Raihana Abdul Jabbar
  39. 89. Childhood Memories , Mandy Lee
  40. 90. As Childhood Passed , Old Teenage Poems
  41. 91. Sonnet: My Childhood , Dr. A.Celestine Raj Manohar ..
  42. 92. Childhood , Edna Jacques
  43. 93. Sonnet: My Childhood Reminiscences , Dr. A.Celestine Raj Manohar ..
  44. 94. My Childhood Memories , David Harris
  45. 95. Childhood -Vs- Dark Adulthood , Heath Gunn
  46. 96. Summer Song - Childhood Faith In Childho.. , Kevin Patrick
  47. 97. Flashes From Childhood 2.; The Lamplight.. , Margery Rehman
  48. 98. From Childhood To Adulthood , Sharron Stephenson
  49. 99. Childhood Memories One: Great Spirit Of .. , Terence George Craddock (Spe ..
  50. 100. Childhood Memories Of Nottingham , Jonathan Goldman a.k.a JGthe ..
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