It’s a strange thing to be aware at ten of wanting to slow down time,
when most of my peers couldn’t wait for it to race by.
I still wanted to play Indians in the copse near my house,
take off on adventures, climb trees, build dens & jump ditches.
At fourteen I had to kiss a boy in a play,
I sure had to act, as I wasn’t ready for that!
I’d listen to girls talk of toying with boys in the park,
I still wanted to play tag, run round and kick a ball.
At fifteen I felt like I should move with my peers,
though I didn’t share their excitement in quite the same way.
Getting older for me meant more freedom to roam, by
bus, train and airplane, adventures far and wide.
At sixteen I thought I really ought to kiss a boy,
I asked a good friend if he would oblige. Paul was his name.
I’d had enough of hiding in toilets when the slow songs came on –
too shy to dance, though there were offers, fearful of a kiss.
Afraid to unlock a part of me that was coming of age,
could I not stay locked in childhood forever?
I liked the innocence, playfulness, boys being my friends.
Intimacy of an adult kind wasn’t what I had in mind.
And then it happened. A shift. An awakening of sorts –
Still half free spirited, bare footed child, running on grass,
but suddenly aware of a stirring lust deep inside.
I was introduced to romance, courting and batting of eyes.
I started to emerge from my chrysalis, wings outstretched,
but with no flight path to guide my giddy, naive heart.
Still but a child with a body of a young woman.
Unaware of the affect my movements had, no way prepared.
At eighteen my path turned bumpy, inhibitions masked with drink.
The wild years followed, I was out of control.
Then he found me and waited, a wild cat that needed taming.
I found friendship could go on, alongside romance.
Till I was twenty one we played a merry dance of cat and mouse,
the games we kept playing, but our paths still criss-crossing.
Then opportunity took us the other side of the world,
and forged our hearts closer, in a new land, far from our past.
I was twenty three when he proposed. We made a good match.
At twenty five I was married and years started racing.
Now thirty eight and a mother of three, the oldest near nine,
Yet still inside I am the child, who just wants to play.
Growing up is a game, I didn’t – and still don’t – always want to play.
Lucky for me, my children give me an excuse.
Sometimes I have to be serious and responsible –
But I live for the days of rolling in grass.
The numbers get bigger, of grey hairs and wrinkles, but –
I shall keep playing, so long as my body will let me.
The new games we all learn, as the candles keep amassing –
can only hope to keep, the child in our hearts, flickering in our eyes.
© Sarah Lee, 2012
A note about this poem – I loved the theme of ‘Numbers’ this week. There were so many ways I thought of taking this theme. In the end, this poem just emerged from my heart (with a few memories of old flames along the way!).
To link up, or read other poems (on this week’s theme of ‘Numbers’),
please click below to visit Latte Junkie’s blog 🙂