Caleb turns ten.

Today is his birthday, his first double digit birthday. He has been anticipating this morning like no other day. He’s talked of it constantly, and last night came to our bed, melancholy and wanting to be held. He said that being “this grown-up” was “making him sad”. As we comforted him, I remembered this poem.

On Turning Ten

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I’m coming down with something,
something worse than a stomachache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad
light-
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
the beautiful complexity introduced by
two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember
every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the
garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to
myself,
as I walk through the universe in my
sneakers.
It is time to say goodbye to imaginary
friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I would shine.
But now, when I fall upon the sidewalks of
life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.

-Billy Collins

About sparrowjourney

Christian homeschooling mom to three boys, married to my best friend, John, for over 20 years. I love gardening without gloves, learning history with my kids, cooking with lots of butter, serving others, great books, rich coffee, studying the Bible, camping outdoors, scrapbooking, vintage home decor, the smell of rain and cut grass, authentic people, poetry, laughing until your sides hurt, and babies. oh and black licorice is pretty awesome.
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1 Response to Caleb turns ten.

  1. Brian says:

    Now that's a cool poem. HAPPY 10TH BIRTHDAY CALEB !!!!!!!!!

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