When Childhood Died

A poem by John Frederick Freeman

I can recall the day
When childhood died.
I had grown thin and tall
And eager-eyed.

Such a false happiness
Had seized me then;
A child, I saw myself
Man among men.

Now I see that I was
Ignorant, surprised,
As one for the surgeon's knife

So that I did not know
What loomed before,
Nor how, a child, I became
A child no more.

The world's sharpened knife
Cut round my heart;
Then something was taken
And flung apart.

I did not, could not know
What had been done.
Under some evil drag
I lived as one

At home in the seeming world;
Then slowly came
Through years and years to myself
And was no more the same.

I know now an ill thing was done
To a young child
By the world's wary knife
Maimed and defiled.

I can recall the day
Almost without anger or pain,
When childhood did not die
But was slain.

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