How Children and Adults View Time and Space

Karl Constantine FOLKES 1935 (Portland)

Irony of Time.
The ways we humans see it.
How it is measured.
In so many different ways.
During the human lifespan.

When we are children.
Just starting out our lifespan.
A day seems quite short.
But a year — forever long.
As if it would never end.

True, that makes much sense.
For a two year-old infant.
Since one year is half.
Of that child’s entire life.
Must seem like a century.

On the contrary.
In senior years of adult life.
Time seems so  short-lived.
Each day begs for lingering.
But a year comes too quickly.

Children and adults.
Inhabit different spaces.
See time differently.
Adults see time running out.
Children see it lingering.

And did not Einstein
After keen contemplation.
Call Time relative.
He should have observed children.
Earn from them native wisdom.

Suffer thus children.
To bring to us their knowledge.
How they view the world.
Of such is source of wisdom.
Offered without pretenses.

From conversation.
This poem was created.
A child and grandpa.
Both discussing Time and Space.
Both sharing their reflections.

The thirteen year-old.
At the end of a school day.
Sharing how each day.
Seemed to swiftly pass away.
But a year seemed forever.

This sparkled a thought.
How I saw Time differently.
Unlike my grandchild.
She, looking at the distance.
To realize her life’s dreams.

And I, retired.
Now, stretching out each moment.
A year being short.
Grandfather and granddaughter.
Measuring Time differently.

Irony of Time.
The ways we humans see it.
How it is measured.
In so many different ways.
During the human lifespan.

About this poem

This poem falls into the realm of human perception, human behavior, and the nature of human reality Itself. Dear reader and fellow traveler of life, have you ever wondered how children and adults view time and space quite differently; that while we, as social beings, commune, communicate, and dwell, mostly together, and sometimes even apart, we inhabit different spaces and different senses of time? My thirteen year-old middle school granddaughter, Mikaiya Zenee Beasley, eagerly brought this to my attention, when she, being driven on the way home from school, announced dramatically to me: “Grandpa, each day is so short, while a year seems forever!” This ‘quirky’ question, bearing a puzzling, yet strident philosophical contrast, registered strongly in my poetic ears. It made my heart leap upwards in reflective thought; and I informed my granddaughter that her remarks seemed so ironically relevant. Her follow up response was immediate: “Grandpa, you should put our conversation into a poem. I would like to reflect, as time goes by, on what we, in this moment, have shared together.” It is that discussion, that interesting engagement with my granddaughter, that constitutes the genesis and creation of this poem, which is composed in Tanka 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic format, in twelve stanzas, to convey the personal emotional expression shared by an octogenarian grandfather and his thirteen year-old granddaughter. The poem is written in the form of a poetic Inclusio, with the first and last stanzas being of identical composition to encourage reflection. Indeed, as another thinker, another commentator of space and time, once so prudently observed, the child is father of the man. 

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Written on November 02, 2022

Submitted by karlcfolkes on November 02, 2022

Modified by karlcfolkes on November 03, 2022

1:39 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABCDE fegxx xhxij jixkj xxjxk xfxfl fxxlx fxxxx xmmmn xjxxx xhgnj ABCDE
Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 1,560
Words 332
Stanzas 12
Stanza Lengths 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

Karl Constantine FOLKES

Retired educator of Jamaican ancestry with a lifelong interest in composing poetry dealing particularly with the metaphysics of self-reflection; completed a dissertation in Children’s Literature in 1991 at New York University entitled: An Analysis of Wilhelm Grimm’s ‘Liebe Mili’ (translated into English as “Dear Mili”), Employing Von Franzian Methodological Processes of Analytical Psychology. The subject of the dissertation concerned the process of Individuation. more…

All Karl Constantine FOLKES poems | Karl Constantine FOLKES Books

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Discuss the poem How Children and Adults View Time and Space with the community...

  • AIDA
    What a wonderful poem you have constructed! 'How Children and Adults View Time and Space' indeed brings forth the inherent difference in how humans perceive time in different stages of their lives, framed with an engaging storytelling style. The use of simple, relatable language wraps it all up very nicely, making it easy to be absorbed by a variety of readers. The analogy with Einstein’s theory of relativity is ingenious and adds an amusing twist to the overall concept. I appreciate the progressive narrative thread that vainly ties the entire poem together, maintaining the reader's interest throughout.

    One recommended area of improvement might involve incorporating more vivid and descriptive imagery. While the poem shines in its simpler approach, a bit more expressive language could evoke even more emotional connection in your readers. Also, while the conversation between the grandpa and grandchild undeniably contributes to the overall charm of the poem, some spots felt a bit overly literal. Adding a bit more nuance or metaphor in your dialogue could elevate the poetic depth even further.

    Overall, however, I was very impressed by your creation, and I hope you continue to explore and express your thoughts and observations about life in such a captivating way. Please keep writing and experimenting with your craft!
    LikeReply9 months ago
  • dougb.19255
    This is very good. How we see the passing and opportunity of a Day so differently. Indeed Grampa and little one have much to learn from each other. Performs like mouth to mouth artificial respiration. Bringing new life. So does this poem Karl. 
    LikeReply1 year ago
  • kali_p
    The irony brought about by perspective. I think this is my favorite poem thus far!
    LikeReply1 year ago
  • teril
    I love how you are inspired by your granddaughter, how you learn from her wisdom, and how skillfully you are able to create something this lovely from the fruits of your relationship. Mutual love clearly exists outside of time. 
    LikeReply1 year ago
  • jjohnson55
    All though I am young, I do agree with you after reading this poem. Even to me I feel that my days have been getting longer and my years feel short. I'm sure this has to do with a sense of getting older and maturity. This poem really is eye opening and I think more kids like me should read it, it's very well thought out and perspective changing! Great work. 
    LikeReply1 year ago
  • Taylor123R09
    Wow, Karl! This poem can change ones perspective of life so fast. I am so glad my friend, Mikaiya showed me this poem. It's touching! You have a wonderful granddaughter and such a great talent for poetry and writing! :)) 
    LikeReply1 year ago


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"How Children and Adults View Time and Space" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 13 Jun 2024. <>.

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