Who was I then, when first I learned
That not all pages can be turned;
That not all things can be set right;
That neither love nor luck is earned?
When was it that I first took fright,
And begged them to leave on the light;
Or prayed in bed for God to keep
A mighty sinner safe that night?
Whose widened eyes, too dry to weep,
Sowed memories for me to reap?
Who gripped a ragged teddy’s arm
And sought to slay the dragon Sleep?
Who whispers now in crazed alarm
Those infant oaths, sealed palm to palm,
Those promises to do least harm?
That each to each must do least harm.
If the past is different country, then far from the child being ‘father to man’, is it not more likely that the child is stranger to its grown self?