Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Song of Childhood


This is the first part of the poem "Song of Childhood" By Peter Handke. It reminds me of the day I asked my mother who "I" am. She didn't understand what I meant, and I didn't find more words to explain my thoughts. I was a little kid. I guess "language" itself was too new for me to handle this type of question, or maybe language was an irrelevant factor since I still have the same problem when I ask the same question.

Read the complete poem here.
When the child was a child
It walked with its arms swinging,
wanted the brook to be a river,
the river to be a torrent,
and this puddle to be the sea.

When the child was a child,
it didn’t know that it was a child,
everything was soulful,
and all souls were one.

When the child was a child,
it had no opinion about anything,
had no habits,
it often sat cross-legged,
took off running,
had a cowlick in its hair,
and made no faces when photographed.

When the child was a child,
It was the time for these questions:
Why am I me, and why not you?
Why am I here, and why not there?
When did time begin, and where does space end?
Is life under the sun not just a dream?
Is what I see and hear and smell
not just an illusion of a world before the world?
Given the facts of evil and people.
does evil really exist?
How can it be that I, who I am,
didn’t exist before I came to be,
and that, someday, I, who I am,
will no longer be who I am?

Originally translated by Gabriel, revised by Doug Rosebrock.

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