As I grew up I was oft told,
To mellow down, be not so bold,
Not to trust, be a little cold,
Reign in my smile and tamp down the love,
For the world is nasty, said the wisdom of old.
I would lose my innocence I was warned,
And to me the world would be more cruel than most,
For I’m expected to know,
and to fight back blow for blow.
I heard but never listened, and saw but didn’t agree
Wore my heart on my sleeve; I lived free,
And there it came, reality,
Crashing with the force of a steam engine
Into the soft body of an oblivious three year old playing on the tracks,
The blood spattered, the bones powdered, the muscle tore to ribbons,
The crowd gathered, the noise grew, they said, “this is what they do, them engines.”
“Whose girl is this? Why didn’t she know? Fool, she plays on the tracks.”
The sobs rose, the whimpers escaped, and the voices said, “I told you so.”
Who was it who cried?
Whimpered in agony, when innocence died?
Who was it who cheered?
Tsking, that this was the very fate they feared?
That day, it seems, I grew up,
Saw the façade of the strangers smile,
The heart on the sleeve, lost somewhere in the dust, trampled upon, it died.
The words of love, turned to trash,
Honour lost all meaning,
When the world turned dark; and I lost my way,
my faith and my innocent spark.
Blinded I stumbled along, for I saw with trust,
I crawled, for I walked on faith,
My reason was faulty, and my voice was gone, for my conviction rested my reason upon,
And my soul starved, dried up and shriveled,
For the love was poisoned, on which it fed.
And yet I crawled, inch by inch,
And the voices jeered, ready to lynch
My wretched, pitiful persona;
A fool who never learns,
In the face of reality for fantasy yearns.
Call me learning disabled,
It’s quite in vogue I hear,
but for pity’s sake shut up,
the noise of the voices I can no longer bear.
You said I’d lose my innocence,
And yes, I can see strangers now,
And I can see what’s ugly, what’s rotten to the core,
I can see through false pretences and the parasites that whore,
I know all smiles aren’t genuine,
And that the hug may be to just stab my back,
But I won’t sell out, won’t be a hack!
Innocence did not die that day,
But was joined by a friend by the name of fear,
for fear is a loyal friend that travels where loss does,
and loss never comes without a choice – to live or die or pray.
Today, innocence lives with loss,
And courage battles with fear,
Hope thrives, laughter plays and hurt joins in the fray,
And my view from black and white turns a motley grey,
And this is what they meant when they said,
“You’ll grow up, my dear, one day.”