Summer, the Death of Childhood, and Arranging Lines of Poetry

Well, there’s a post title that’ll draw folks in…or repel them. Either way, it would get my attention.

Being summer and all (or close enough), I’ve been taking my kids to the pool twice a week. I’m not terribly keen on water, whether it be in the ocean or the pool, and would rather just avoid it…but that’s not possible with my children. After taking them to the pool three or four times—and when it was time to do so again—I sat down on the sofa and said, “Look, we need to talk about this.”

My ten-year-old rolled his eyes. “We know, you don’t like going to the pool,” he said.

“It’s more than that,” I said. “Going to the pool entails a whole host of things, none of which I look forward to. And the so-called reward at the end of the preparation is getting in the water. I know you two like it, but I don’t. So when it’s time to go to the pool, I have to get myself in a mental state of–”

“You don’t have to get in the water,” my six-year-old chimed in.

“Yeah,” his brother said. “Just bring a book and your computer. You can write.”

I felt anxiety loosen its deathgrip on me. I can write. Hmm. And so we got ready, I put up with the squabbling on the way to the pool, slathered sunblock on the kids, put a life-jacket on the little one, got in the water with them for fifteen minutes…and then got the hell out, dried off, opened up the Surface, and started writing.

Here’s one of the poems that came out of a writing session. After I finished it, I began playing with the lines on the screen. I don’t normally format my poems in unusual ways, but this one sort of demanded that I do so. I’m posting the poem as a PDF, which I hope works. The poem itself can be taken in different ways, but when I finished it, it reminded me of moving from childhood to maturity and the sadness (and horror) that goes along with it.

The next time, I’ll post the poem I wrote about my feelings regarding the pool. It’s…uh…not very nice. Until then, I give you:

War

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