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Escaping Youth

Oftentimes as I grow old
My thoughts return to times ago.
Familiar faces reappear, recognized places
Rise up from the overstuffed closets
Of my cavernous mind, so densely packed
And pitch-dark if I could and sometimes yes!
See within clearly.

“Hello,” I nod to the kid next door,
Each of us straddling our bikes in the middle of the
Hot narrow street of gravel and melting tar.
We rode miles along sunbaked roads and
Dusty lanes mostly through flat farms, white
Wooden ships with fieldstone chimneys amid
Wind-tossed seas of corn and wheat.

“Good to see you,” he nods back at me,
Both of us less interested in one another than
In the places, the scenes, and the edifices
Of spent youth, our earliest investment in living
A life guided by discovery and whim.
We know how temporary youth is and yet
Pedal farther and farther away.

Is he out there somewhere as I am? What
Happened to him after I left, and after the war came
Did he go to war like I did and did he come home
From war, and were any of his old friends left?
At the end of my time fighting, I landed softly, silently
Back home where the flat tarry roads and dusty lanes
Crisscross fields of corn and wheat.

Where were my friends, now? Where
The bicycle I rode so many miles ago, but of course
I know, I'm the one who tossed it aside when two wheels no longer
Took me far enough when I only wanted to be
Grown up and … and, and what? And it took
Boots on my feet to get there. And how many pair
And to how many places?

About this poem

Looking back on our youth and what we often took for granted as we fled toward adulthood and the loss of our innocence.

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Written on June 09, 2022

Submitted by DJGillert on July 10, 2022

1:32 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 1,498
Words 307
Stanzas 5
Stanza Lengths 7, 7, 7, 7, 7

Douglas Gillert

Douglas Gillert is a retired journalist and editor. He writes poetry as part of his spiritual path. more…

All Douglas Gillert poems | Douglas Gillert Books

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1 Comment
  • dougb.72572
    Fellowship with bikes, hot roads, ageing, wars fought, peace regained, aching limbs accepted…Douglas Blair
    LikeReply1 month ago


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"Escaping Youth" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 1 Apr. 2023. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/133289/escaping-youth>.

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