Young People: A Poem
Through the wisp of the morning mist I heard voices.
Off the vacant building walls they rang and resounded.
Coming around the bend I saw a clutch of young people,
gathering like young people do in all times,
to laugh and shout and throw hands
and make merry, though the world’s dark,
though there’s no time for that now,
though they should worry. I stopped and stared at them
and they stared back at me.
Other times I see them on TV spit and curse the world
as if they understand the darkness at its core,
as if they’ve been informed of trouble since the day
they were born. I do not know how to piece together
these pieces, these disparate events. I do not know
who is pretending. I think perhaps
they are all misguided.
Because they are young, and do I blame them?
They walk between the hedgerows in the gathering dusk,
hand in hand, swing side by side in the park
where caution tape litters the ground like spiderweb.
They think they are in love. And could I break it to them?
Could I tell them that they do not know? Could I
dehumanize the ones with eyes that have seen too much,
though they are young? Could I shatter dreams?
No, I’d much rather live and let them stay in peace
in the little time they have before they realize
that that was not love and that there are paths,
paths winding away, that they have not yet traveled,
towards the dark heart of the world.
I often find it interesting to consider generational divide of the sort I explore in this poem. I remember a time when I didn’t care much about anything in the world and only really cared about myself and about what I did on a day-to-day basis. I had no overarching picture of either my life or the world. Now I do, and I look at things differently. That’s kind of what this poem is about.
If you enjoyed “Young People,” you might also enjoy my poem “in(sanity).”
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