The boy in short trousers

Boy stands in a rowdy frantic playground 

Feeling the cold in more ways than one

Shoes letting in water, nose dripping

Wiping dew away on the back of coat sleeves

too long for his skinny wiry arms


Mind wondering, cravings for recognition 

will fall again on closed ears, as others have already categorised him as poor, pale and insignificant, no opposition 

A pushover and easy bullying fodder


He claims he’s in the juniors, his peers know it’s a lie, they hope they’re going

to pressure him, enough to make him cry


Little boy lost they say he is

but he’s made of tougher stuff

They didn’t know what they were dealing with, as he was used to having it rough


His strategy was to put on an act that 

film stars would be proud of

through most of his life he huffed and puffed but never blew any house down


Forced to grow up at eight years old

and sacrifice his childhood

His mum depressed his Dad had gone

so he quickly gravitated to manhood


How do I know about this boy so young who carried the world on his shoulders?

Who struggled through a torrid time

but survived and is now much older?


He’s older but wiser and still in touch

with his thoughts and fond memor-ees 

The good times, the sad times

and yes you’ve guessed it...

The boy in the poem was me!









◄ Acts of Human Kindness

The Difference a Day Makes ►


Profile image

Fred Varden

Sun 24th Dec 2017 14:57

Thanks Kevin, indeed it was like that in those days. They wanted me to read in an assembly so they had to dress me in a second hand school blazer just for those few minutes. However, you’re right I’m not ashamed of my past and I wouldnt change it, as you say it helps shape who you are. Many thanks.


Profile image

kJ Walker

Sun 24th Dec 2017 11:24

Hi Fred, I guessed the boy in the poem was going to be you, but it could well have been me you were describing. One thing I remember about inadequate clothing, was having no elastic in my underpants. They always hung down below the hem of my shorts, and I spent all my time pulling them up.
In those days being poor was something to be ashamed of, so we learned how to hide it. Of course others were going through the same thing, but they were hiding it too.
In retrospect, it's your childhood that shapes you, and gives you your character. I bet that you (like me) wouldn't swap, with anyone.

Cheers Kevin

Profile image

Fred Varden

Mon 18th Dec 2017 22:04

Yes it is, thanks Hannah and so it continues today, 28 years now of looking after my disabled wife, and all that goes with that. My childhood tought me one thing and that was survival. I just shared with Rose that I’m now been asked to write poetry for people really struggling. Wrote one for an 8 year old who’s Daddy died and another bereaved young Mum. Hopefully survival passing on survival. I print them out and frame them for voluntary donations to Parkinsons UK. God bless

Profile image

Hannah Collins

Mon 18th Dec 2017 21:13

It's all there, the strength and the vulnerability and survival.


If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message