on growing up & such–

i grew up in a day or so,
barely born, we (all the kids,
who lived here), knew

too much already,
shaking off lies
on sun warm concrete,

& with scratched knees we
collected lady bugs,
(cause they bring luck), but
obviously never

the right number,

beer & cigarette smoke,
i had a bird that,

once out of the cage,
head slightly tilted, feathers
ruffled in repressed excitement,
tip-toed up my arm to collarbone,
hiding in the veil of hair
that fell over my neck,

a crossroad &
each night i tried
to post this letter,


(“that’s why you trust
no one”)

woke with a start, climbing out
onto another day’s mountain,

that seldom left
a piton for the safety ropes
to sling through


Stu has us write “growing-up” poems today at dVerse, grab your pen & join us when he opens the doors at 3pm EST


69 responses to “on growing up & such–

  1. It seems sad that kids grow up too fast these days. But then again I wonder if every generation has said that since the beginning of time. Maybe we focus too much on growing up – rushing forward – headlong in the abyss of experience – and need to focus on a return to innocence. But does anyone believe that innocence is possible?
    Just thinking out lout. Thanks for another great poem Claudia.

  2. …when i was 6 or 7 i kept on asking: when will i grow up..? When will i go to office & work? When will i earn some bucks? Now i’m 21…not too old i know…but almost living the answers to my questions…there are times i would simply want to go back and regret wishing to grow…really gone are those days physically…but the emotional aspects of my childhood days will never fade…it will always haunts you…and you will always need to turn back and reminisce those days… I think growing up physically is so easy…but growing up emotionally is way harder than it seems… I like your barefoot collecting of ladybugs…very childlike & resonating fragility…great read Claudia…smiles…

  3. Claudia, this is so bitter-sweet, and it captures that feeling of growing up so so well. the comparison between the drag into the adult world, and the childlike, the innocent (the collecting of ladybugs… that’s ladybirds for all the UK folk)…but the letter….trying to tell someone something….or simply wanting to be heard…this gives this some real mystery and makes the reader ask questions. Maybe its because i’m interested in the theme, but this is one of my new favourites of yours. great work Claudia

  4. I love the idea of climbing out onto another day’s mountain. Whatever happened to the sense that every day was an adventure waiting to happen? Is that another casualty of advancing years, or is it just me?

  5. so many little emotional touches in this claudia….the collecting of the lady bugs but never getting the right number really stands out to me….the climbing th mountain with no safety rope is so telling in the end as well….very nice…

  6. Claudia, I think some children experience too a lot of ‘life’ at an early age, along with beer and the cigarette smoke and in today’s world even so much more. And often more than knees are scratched….minds, egos, self esteem as well, even deeper scratches that some endure. When one is searching for lady bugs, at least one is searching….has a goal to rise from the smoke and leave the cage (as does the bird) and mail the letter (and share one’s thoughts) and eventually find a way to climb a mountain of one’s own choosing. Often I look at children today and wonder how they will find their mountain to climb, but somehow they do….most of us do….somehow!

  7. I also had the sensation of a “dreamscape” which is exactly how this growing older seems at this point in my life…a good characterization of the process IMHO.

  8. Ladybugs, eh? I remember fastening thread to the legs of Junebugs, and enjoying their now orbital flight..not the most humane..but kids do all manner of things to entertain themselves.

  9. This one seemed like a child growing up too fast because of the difficult surroundings and not finding enough safety in the midst of it all. It’s a sad story. The reference to the caged bird reminded me of the book about anorexia- Even the Caged Bird Sings. Your description of having to climb a mountain daily with no safety ropes was especially poignant. If this is your history, you grew yourself well.

  10. Lived each and every word of this piece, C … except I … never shook off certain lies for the sake of self preservation …

  11. wow. this piece echoes of sadness. I think I, like the bird, would be hesitatant. there is something about the end, I can’t quite put it into words, but it speaks volumes.

  12. I could literally feel the bird climbing onto my shoulder, beneath my hair. I love the casual “voice” in your poetry. It’s refreshing and not bogged down with pretense. I also relate, on some levels, to this particular poem. Well done!

  13. I specially like the opening lines, kids knowing too much makes me sad ~ I tell my children not to be in hurry to grow up ~ Enjoyed this ~

  14. i am loving these growing up posts, because it’s … man, i just never knew there were others out there that enjoyed tapping into nostalgia like this, that were able to, at that. nobody seems to care about any of that, just the presentation of who we are now, and how successful we are at enjoying the moment. i, for one, live on various planes of nostalgia, and this poem was felt deeply by my core. thank you.

    • This is a message for disastress. I commented in your blog, and my post did not show up. Please check your spam. Most often if I post in a WP blog for the first time my post is considered spam. I have no way of contacting you unless I find you in someone else’s blog. (Sorry for using your blog here, Claudia)

  15. Bitter sweet and frightening…despite the image of the bird hopping up your arm…I find these prompts incredibly difficult, as I don’t much enjoy looking back…hence my rock star ambitions…focus forward ๐Ÿ˜‰ Found a darker side to your words here for me today…mood and tone…fantastic!

  16. Your poetry always makes me think. This is a good thing and this poem was no exception. Very deep and yet you brought the child like whimsy out with your mention of ladybugs. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. a lot said..I could be wrong here, but I think some of us learned at an early age to separate ourselves emotionally from a parent…and those lies we had to shake off, oh my; and not being understood or even heard meant we had to jump higher hurdles to make it..and, it took time for us to find this out and be,less cautious..;)

  18. In a shrunken world smitten and besmirched by Honey Boo Boo, infants learning concepts before language, elementary school slaughters, bullshit politicians–what a joy to walk with you back, back to your pigtails, mud on your dress, untied shoe laces, lost socks, children’s games & books. My parents in the 50’s felt we were growing up as punks, and that rock-and-roll was of the devil. As we get older, the past, our childhood becomes infinitesimal on the horizon of too many yesterdays; thanks for the ride.

  19. Catching lady birds, mountain climbing and such like were fun. I pity youngsters these days who could only wish but couldn’t. They play games until young adults and at other times they do FB and tweeter, a sedentary option. Nicely Claudia!


  20. Interesting. When considering a ‘growing up’ poem, there is always a decision to make – shall I write this as an immediate experience or as the experience of memory? The latter is very, very Wordsworthian of course.


  21. Is it sad? I am not sure. All of these delicious moments that seemed so enduring long day after long day with lady bugs and scratched knees and sips of the forbidden and birds and friends and chores–ended before I (and your narrator) could grab and hold them. It is true. Thornton Wilder showed in his play “Our Town” how we never notice things until they are gone and the simplest moment is full of wonder (and danger). Perhaps we were more “at one” with the moments than we knew. They live in me.

  22. “i grew up in a day or so,”

    I read this one line and could relate. So many of us, for one reason or another, have had to “grow up” and assume responsibilities that those looking from the outside in might never understand.
    Your poem leaves so much open for reader interpretation. You speak of comforting things like collecting lady bugs and having a bird, and although you never share in detail, there is that underlying raw edge, that deepness, that that those who’ve been there can relate to. Well penned indeed, Claudia.

  23. Growing up fast is a challenging and timeless thing. The challenges change with the times, but they are equal, all things considered. The same thing, only different, I like to say.

  24. this is great claudia,strong opening, everything strong in fact. nice poem for me to get started with… i have some catching up to do. really did enjoy this… good to read you again

  25. Innocence and innocence lost, classic themes, Claudia! I love the way your verse flows like a high, narrow waterfall of crystal clear water cascading to a strong crescendo… ๐Ÿ™‚ Eric

  26. “i grew up in a day or so,
    barely born, we (all the kids,
    who lived here), knew…
    too much already,
    shaking off lies
    on sun warm concrete…

    Claudia, I like the way you have captured [the] memories Of growing-up in your poem…on growing up & suchโ€“

    And somehow going from:
    & with scratched knees we
    collected lady bugs,
    (cause they bring luck), but
    obviously never…

    beer & cigarette smoke…
    Thanks, for sharing!
    deedee ๐Ÿ™‚