Childhood by Marcus Natten
In this poem, the poet reflects thoughtfully on his lost childhood. Childhood is a period of innocence during which the child trusts others and loves without reservation. The poet has attempted to identify a few points in his life when his thoughts and perceptions of the world changed. When one can think logically and rationally, the poem describes the first step towards maturity or the loss of childhood. Another indication of maturity or the loss of childhood is the ability to form one’s own opinion without being influenced by others. The poem also hints at the hypocrisy prevalent in our society, where people pretend to be nice to each other but, in reality, do not like each other.
Short Summary of Childhood Poem
Childhood, an opus by Marcus Natten, is a reflective musing on the relinquishment of innocence in the poet’s life. The poet ruminates over the precise moment when his childhood ebbed away and recalls the various episodes that could have precipitated its departure.
In the poet’s remembrance, he arrives at the epiphany that the world is not what it seems. The veil of naivety is lifted, and the poet beholds the world in its stark reality. He perceives the people around him to be hypocrites, and he becomes distrustful of them. The poet maintains that adults extol the virtues of love, but their deeds belie their words. This revelation fractures the poet’s childhood and begets an irreversible loss of innocence.
The poet questions the point at which this forfeiture took place, and he entertains different conjectures. Was it on his twelfth birthday, or was it when he realised that Heaven and Hell were mere figments of his imagination? Was it when his perspective on the world began to shift, or when he became cognizant of his identity and autonomy?
In the end, the poet bemoans the loss of his childhood and yearns to relive those innocent moments. He recognises that his childhood has vanished to a forgotten place, never to return. The vestiges of his childhood are only fond memories that eventually fade away. The poet believes that the innocence of childhood can only be glimpsed in the countenance of an infant and is relinquished as one matures and confronts the harsh realities of life.
In sum, “Childhood” is a poignant meditation on the vulnerability of innocence and the irreparable forfeiture of childhood. The poet’s cogitation attests to the fact that childhood is a precious boon that warrants cherishing and safeguarding.
Explanation of Childhood
The poet gives the question of his lost childhood a lot of thought in this poem. Childhood is a time of innocence when a child trusts others and loves them no matter what. The poet has tried to pinpoint a few times in his life when his thoughts and ideas about the world changed. When one can think logically and rationally, they have taken the first step towards adulthood or lost their childhood. It’s also a sign of maturity or the loss of one’s childhood to form one’s own opinion and resist being influenced by others. The poem also hints at the hypocrisy that is common in our society, where people pretend to like each other but really don’t.
When did the poet lose his innocence? He muses that it might have been the day he turned eleven. Maybe it was when he realised that the ideas of Hell and Heaven that he had been taught about since he was a child did not exist in reality. Geography books didn’t say where any of these places were. When he acquired his rational frame of mind as a result of his education, the poet realises that he may have lost his childhood.
The poet muses in the second stanza that he may have lost his childhood when he was old enough to see right through adults’ lies. These people had two sets of rules: the ones they followed and the ones they told others to follow. They told the poet to be kind and loving, but they were rude, angry, and violent (ironical). Their actions were a far cry from the love they preached and pleaded for in front of the child. Perhaps, says the poet, recognising broken trust was a big step towards becoming an adult.
The poet speculates once more that it might have been the day he realised his mind could think on its own, forming his opinions and allowing him to make his own decisions. He developed a sense of individuality, which freed him from the opinions of others. Now, his thoughts are shaped by his own ideas and experiences, and he realised that this might have been the moment when he completely lost his innocence as a child.
Where did his childhood go, the poet laments in the final stanza. Maybe his childhood has gone somewhere he doesn’t remember, he thinks. The poet also says that you can see the innocence of childhood in the face of a child who doesn’t try to be smart and who trusts people without question. To put it another way, a small child is full of innocence, and it is where one can find their childhood.
Theme of Childhood
The theme of the poem “Childhood” is the loss of innocence. When and where did Markus Natten lose his childhood? Adolescence is typically a confusing time for a child who is unable to immediately come to terms with the physical, hormonal, and psychological changes in his or her personality. They don’t want to be called a child or a full adult, so they become a “young adult,”
The poet first contemplates and ponders the end of his childhood. He considers where his childhood ended. He wonders if today was the day he turned twelve years old. Another possibility is the moment when the author realised that Hell and Heaven do not exist and cannot be located geographically. Thus, now was the time for the author to differentiate between reality and fantasy. The poet realises that these are fictitious locations that do not exist in the real world.
The poet repeats the same query regarding the loss of his childhood. Now, the poet wonders when he first began to view the world with a different perspective. As humans age, their perception of the world changes naturally. Nonetheless, the poet appears to be profoundly affected by it. In addition, the poet came to understand that adults are hypocrites. This is due to the fact that adults are not what they appear to be. According to the author, adults preach about love but do not demonstrate it in their actions. Therefore, the author believes that adults exhibit a dual nature. So, did his childhood end at this point?
Moving forward, the poet mulls over the same question regarding the loss of his youth. In addition, the author considers various possibilities. In addition, the poet recalls the day he realised his mind was unique. This was the moment when the poet realised that he can use his mind however he wishes. In addition, the poet realises that his thoughts are his own and cannot be influenced by anyone else. One could say that the poet realised he could generate his own thoughts and had free will. This was the time when the poet realised his own uniqueness and personality. So, was that the day that he lost his childhood?
In the final stanza, the poet expresses regret for his lost childhood. It appears that the poet wishes to relive his childhood. His childhood, he concludes, has vanished into a forgotten place from which it can never return. The poet mourns the loss of his innocence. This is the type of innocence that can only be seen on the face of a baby. He only has fond childhood memories that will quickly fade away. According to the poet, childhood innocence only lasts until the age of infancy.
Poetic Devices of Childhood Poem
Refrain: (Line(s) that is/are repeated at regular intervals throughout the poem. The refrain often carries the central message of the poem) – “When did my childhood go?…. Was that the day!”
Antithesis: (A rhetorical device in which two opposite ideas are put together in a sentence to achieve a contrasting effect) – “Hell and Heaven”
Alliteration: (Repetition of the same consonant sound at the beginning of two adjacent words) – “My mind”; “Whichever way”; “That, they,” “the time.”
Rhyme scheme: The poet does not follow any particular rhyme scheme. Only the first stanza has a rhyme scheme of ‘abbccd’.
Q. What according to the poet is involved in the process of growing up?
Ans: Maturity, rational thinking, the ability to distinguish between fact and fiction, individuality of thought.
Q. What is the poet’s feeling towards childhood?
Ans: The poet feels nostalgic and a sense of loss towards childhood.
Q. Which do you think are the most poetic lines? Why?
Ans: This is a subjective question and the answer will vary depending on the reader’s interpretation. One may choose the lines that resonate with them the most or evoke the strongest emotional response.
Q. What is the central theme of the poem?
Ans: The central theme of the poem is the loss of innocence associated with growing up and the different stages or experiences that may lead to it.
Q. What are the sub-themes of the poem?
Ans: The sub-themes of the poem include rationality, hypocrisy of adults, and individuality of thoughts.
Q. How does the poet describe the process of growing up?
Ans: The poet describes the process of growing up as a journey towards maturity, which involves the development of rational thinking, the ability to distinguish between fact and fiction, and the emergence of one’s own individuality of thought.
Q. What does the poet mean when he says, “my childhood has gone to an unremembered place”?
Ans: When the poet says, “my childhood has gone to an unremembered place,” he means that his childhood memories have faded or become inaccessible to him, and he cannot remember the exact moment or time when he lost his innocence and became an adult.
Q. Why does the poet use the refrain, “When did my childhood go?” throughout the poem?
Ans: The poet uses the refrain, “When did my childhood go?” throughout the poem to emphasize his sense of loss and nostalgia for his childhood and to create a sense of unity and coherence in the poem.
I. Read the extract given below and answer any two of the questions that follow:
“When did my childhood go? Was it when I found my mind was really mine, To use whichever way I choose, Producing thoughts that were not those of other people, But my own, and mine alone Was that the day!”
Q. Explain “my mind was really mine”.
Ans: It means that the poet’s mind was his own, and he had the ability to use it as he wished, producing his own thoughts and ideas without being influenced by others.
Q. What did the poet realize?
Ans: The poet realized that his mind was his own and he had his own individuality. He could think independently, forming his own opinions and making his own decisions.
Q. The poet ……….. find an answer to his question.
Ans: The poet did not find an answer to his question. He reflects on different stages of his life and wonders when he lost his childhood innocence, but he does not arrive at a definitive answer.
Q. What is the significance of the title, “Childhood,” for the poem?
Ans: The title, “Childhood,” is significant for the poem because it reflects the central theme of the poem, which is the loss of innocence associated with growing up, and it provides a focus for the poet’s reflection and introspection.
Q. How does the use of poetic devices contribute to the meaning of the poem?
Ans: The use of poetic devices such as refrain, antithesis, alliteration, and rhyme scheme contributes to the meaning of the poem by creating a sense of unity, coherence, and musicality in the poem, emphasizing the central message and themes, and enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the poem.
Q. What did the poet notice about independent thinking? How important was this discovery?
Ans: The poet noticed that independent thinking allowed him to form his own opinions and ideas. This discovery was important as it gave him a sense of individuality and set him free from the preconceived opinions of others.