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If I Grow Up


A poem by Christopher M. Towsley. With violence and death rampant on the streets of some US major cities, this touching poem is literally pulled from today’s headlines. When first and second graders begin their dreams of the future with the words ‘if I grow up’ rather than ‘when I grow up’, something is horribly wrong with society.

If I Grow Up

By Christopher M. Towsley

The sound of little children,
a lithe and lilting sound,
laughing and giggling,
wrestling and wiggling,
around the schools,

Called in from recess,
not a thought of regress,
with smiling eyes,
Brief thoughts of Mommy,
and Daddy,
then the shots rang out.
And once again,
history’s friend,
repetition, reared its head.

Everyone is sorry,
but ihe same old story,
just adds to the list,
of dead.

Then subsequently,
a little boy,
was asked of His future plan,
“If I grow up” he simply replied,
“I want to be a fireman.”

“If I grow up”
instead of “when”
oh, from the mouths of babes.
They all see,
what’s on TV,
and their aspiration fades.

And the little children,
grow so fast,

and games teach them to kill.
And they wonder, if,
when they grow up,
and whether or not,
they will.

Christopher M. Towsley, February 2013