Gary Jacobson

WHEN I WAS A CHILD

When I was a child
I spake as a child:
I thought life was forever,
Like a child.
I saw the world
Through rose colored glasses of a child.
But when the war came,
I put away childish things…

Through the eyes of a child…
I saw nothing in this world
Not meek and mild
Knowing not of a world
Where glory had not smiled
Where spiteful contentions were hurled
In angered contentions riled
Where men so hated,
Us versus the world fated.

So when I was told my daddy’s gone fighting
Fighting in war far, far and away
Freedoms preserving,
For me in battle’s fray
Preserving sweet songs of liberty,
Far, far and away
For me…
I knew only…
Daddy was not by my side today.

A lonely tear I childishly shed
Trying to remember all the words,
Daddy loving me said.
Oh I do want to remember,
Rubbing my eyes red.
I cried at night in bed
Because he could not tell me stories
Shaking his great head,
Comforting in laughter rocking,
Again beside my bed.

I cried when by my side,
Daddy could not stay
To hug away boyish tears that hide
In that special daddy way.
Daddy could not chase away the fears
Nor kiss away hurting tears
On my cherub cheek
That in profusion lay,
In games of hide and seek
Kissing them away.

Daddy called me his little man
Calling me his special sunshine ray,
Spent loving hours talking to me man-to-man…
In splendorific joy’s array,
Helping me life’s plan to understand
Each day
Until he went far, far and away.
They say my daddy killed monsters and dragons,
Like those hiding under my bed lay
Loving me, still loving me,
Childish fears his daddy strength would allay
Loving me, still loving me,
Come what may.

The boy next door
Said my daddy’s in harm’s way,
Killing monsters far and away…
Far and away across the sea,
Far and beyond where I could see.
Daddy spent his days in a man’s gunplay.
I hope in the worst way
Childish of the ways of war naive
My daddy would come home soon to stay
Pretend again in fairies to believe.

But it was not to be!
Now daddy’s on some wall far away,
Mama says daddy can no longer with me play.
A world of cares suddenly heavy
Now heavy upon me lay,
Though still a child, for my daddy I long.
Daddy can no longer wipe my tears away;
I must now be strong
As angels for me sing a sorrowful song.

No longer
Can daddy talk man-to-man to me…
No longer
Can he kill monsters under my bed…
For me…
I’m not ready but now I must
Be the man daddy would want me to be.