There, in the pages, was a folded piece of paper with a poem inside. She did not write the poem – I know this because at the bottom she’d written “Author Unknown”... I love this poem... absolutely love it. I loved it from the first moment I read it, back when I was about sixteen and when she recently brought me over a typed copy to have, remembering how much I liked it, I read it again... I still love it.
So, where did it come from? Well, now that’s the question that’s bugging me. So I thought I’d put it up here to see if any of you wonderful, and well-read bloggers might be able to point me in the right direction toward finding the author. My mother originally found the poem in a magazine (she can’t remember which one) back in the late fifties or very early sixties. According to that article, the poem was on a plaque at the entranceway to a boys’ reformatory.
I swear that I ain’t stirbugs, Doc,
But in my dreams, I see a clock;
Bigger’n all the world, it seems,
The clock I see, in all my dreams.
‘N fightin’ the hands, I always see,
The little kid I usta be,
‘N hear the kid I once was, cry,
“Turn back! Turn back, before I die!”
‘N scream, ‘n scream, but no one’s there,
‘Cause those who shoulda, didn’t care.
Ya know, Doc, good kids don’t just grow,
It takes some decent folks to show
A kid just what he’s gotta be,
To fit into society.
‘N as a kid, I never had
No one to show me good from bad,
Exceptin’ other kids who thought
That bad meant only getting’ caught.
So I went bad ‘cause no one good,
Looked at a kid, ‘n understood.
I’ll tell ya, no one wants to be,
A menace, to society.
There ain’t a guy inside this pen,
Who wouldn’t like to start again,
And keep the kid he usta be,
From bein’ a case history.
But that’s just wishful thinkin’, Doc,
You never can turn back the clock.
I hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I do. If you happen to recognize it and know who the author is or where it came from, I’d love to know... Or if you’ve got any good ideas on how to find out, that would be great, too.