Thursday, April 2, 2009

Theme Thursday = Ten


On Turning Ten

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.

But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.
It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I would shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees, I bleed.

Billy Collins

I like the idea of finding a picture of your ten year old self and
putting it in a lovely frame. Keep it out on your desk where you can
see it often. Be reminded of the fact that this little person is you.
Treat her gently and with kindness. Cherish this tender soul.

If this post looks familiar to some of you gentle readers, it is a
partially recycled post from last July. (Remember, we like to keep
things green at WM!)


  1. What tender moments you captured. Yes, we'll keep a picture of our younger self close by. Thanks, Willow.

  2. Sadly, i cannot remember what it felt like to turn ten...but i enjoyed the poem nevertheless...reminded me a little of Dandelion Wine, which is a tremendous story about growing up. Happy Thursday.

  3. Willow, such a great idea. Some days I need to not be so hard on that little girl. Ten was a very hard time for me. My daddy had been sick for a year with colon cancer and I just kept praying for his recovery. I grew up a lot that year. I need to be reminded that all those years ago I was trying to grow up and I had to be brave and I missed my daddy so much after that.

  4. Lovely poem. 10 is the last time we can be worry-free. No worries about boys, school, jobs.

    I wonder if I've got a picture here.

    Thanks for the touching poem.


  5. That's a lovely idea Willow, and the poem is one to cut and paste into that 'repository of treasures'...

    I am going to think about being 10...
    maybe a photo will place the memories in context for me.

    I love Willow at 10.

    thank you

  6. Treat her gently and with kindness, always. I have a framed snapshot of my daughters at about that age, and whenever I look at it, I'm there again, tending to them.

  7. I remember a lot of my childhood, but I can't zero into age ten. I have a framed picture when I was about seven months old that sits in a bookcase. I can see the same smile I have today.

    Thank you for the poem.

  8. I like this post very much. I wish I had a picture when I was ten or the scussor cut profile when I was eleven. No cameras in wartime and paper burns,,,but memory luckily still holds true.
    The poem reminds me of a line on one of mine about the fragility of a child's soul.

  9. Didn't have any ready snaps at this age( boxed up somewhere ). but I did something along this line. And like the poem, Willow. Cheers :)

  10. It is nice to see and remember this ten year old self. But I also like thinking that she can gaze back at you. Catching up with you. How you've grown. The type of woman you've become. How you look now. Learning that you married and had children. Sampling the fruit born of her tender soul.

  11. I am not sure I remember what it was like to be ten.

    I think at ten, I felt forty.

  12. you mean i was supposed to give up imaginary friends at 10! lol. nice piece. the pic on the desk should remind us to remain kids as often as we can.

  13. And that is a beautiful post to recycle. Thank you.

  14. Willow my 10 year old self was not a happy little girl. I think you came up with a wonderful idea. I will look for that old pic, put it up and give her the attention and loving care she deserved.

  15. how lovely....I found a photo of me at 10 - which will be going up as soon as my clock strikes midnight .... love the fact that you found a picture of you at 10 were so precious and I bet precocious ....

    nice poem....

  16. I like it. I'm doing that. I mean, the picture thing. Sorry, I'm all dopey from these meds I'm taking to ward off the flu - cure worse than the disease, peut-etre?

    Thanks for the poem.

  17. I love the works of Billy Collins. I very much like your idea of a photo of a younger self to encourage a nurturing care of the person you have become.

    Ah, and Tom mentioned Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury. I have a birthday in a few days, and I read that book every year starting on my birthday. It reminds me that there is still magic in life, if you are willing to see and experience it.

    Great post!


  18. I am glad that You have chosen to keep all of your Life's "personages" alive and respectfully honored. For, My Dear Friend, all of who You are continually blesses me.

    Lovingly ...

  19. Well, this was a new post for me, and a poignant one. Love the poem.
    I do have one small photo of myself around that age--four generations around a holiday table. It is cherished not for her, but for them.

  20. I love this poem, and I love the idea of young people feeling a sense of history emerge as they mark these milestones.

  21. Some of us need to hide the photo of ourselves at ten...yours is very nice, though.

  22. Wonderful poem, and I do remember the delightful photo! I also remember my 10th birthday quite clearly. I was amazed to have two digits in my age!! I wonder if I shall be as amazed to have three???

  23. 'there was nothing under my skin but light' - a remarkable line from a wonderful poem - thanks Willow.

  24. We were so proud of those numbers when we were young, now they come as a shock, can that number over half way to one hundred be me!

  25. Well, may the recycling continue! I loved that poem by Billy Collins. Double figures can be troublesome although we're too young to remember or notice at that age. You have an angelic face in that photo and look much younger (probably six or seven). Many thanks for such a fascinating (green!) post.

    Greetings from London.

  26. Beautiful. I do have a photo of me that I keep around, but I am eight in the photo. It reminds me to always have a little of that eight year old in me. I do try.

  27. I'm not sure I know what age I am in pictures of me. I know I was very grown-up at 10 - not as in make-up and pop-music, just tall and long words...

    That is a fantastic poem, thank you for showing it to us.

  28. That is such a beautiful poem. I remember turning ten....just a couple of years before all of the teenage angst.
    I love the idea of the picture :)

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  29. I agree with Mimi: a fab' poem to recycle. We could take a few more like that!

  30. I really enjoyed the poem and the description of being 10. I have a jewelry box that was homemade and given to my mom, who gave it to me when I was 10. That is about the only thing I can remember from that age. I will have to find my picture of me at 10. I haven't looked at it in a long time. I liked your picture of you at 10. And I like your current pictures.

    God bless.

  31. What a lovely take on the theme...

  32. This is a beautiful poem, thanks for sharing.

  33. I hadn't read this post before, and I really enjoyed it. Kudos on the poem choice, it's one of my favorites. =]

  34. This was a beautiful post Willow.I love the poem and that picture of you is just so pretty.Great post.
    Have a lovely day

  35. Hello Willow,

    A lovely poem, yes, but one that seems so melancholy for someone so young. Turning ten ought to be exciting! I can't recall what I may have felt. I must look to see if I can find a ten year old me!

  36. There's only one Billy Collins..truly a treasure. Loved the line about turning a "big number"..I keep turning big numbers..happens fast!

  37. I love that Bardian line, "If you cut me, I would shine".

    Your cute self is adorable, Willow! I need to find one of myself. I know my mother's got tons of them.

    By the way, the sequel to the Bauby poem was posted yesterday (I had some trouble with publishing).


  38. Nice poem. Great idea the picture on the desk. But can I choose another one than me at 10 ? :oP But you have a beautifull one :o)

  39. What a sweet picture of you, willow. You look so self-possessed and grown up.

  40. Great post. Love the poem and the picture. I think that is a great idea, keeping a picture of your younger self nearby. :)

  41. I'd never seen it, glad you recycled it, it is a lovely thought provoking post

  42. Wonderful post. I could become addicted to your blog :-)

  43. How beautiful,
    your ten year old self,
    together with Billy Collins take on ten years! :-)

    When my oldest turned ten, I invited her out to a Japanese restaurant at Georgetown Park in DC, and for cake, we walked down to the Canal, to Patisserie-Cafe Didier, a gem of little store in one of the most beautiful and hidden parts of Washington DC. They put a candle in her piece of chocolate cake and I felt like I had a very grown daughter.

    Thanks for the memories!

  44. Beautiful. If you are out of imaginary friends, I can send a few of my gnomes over...

  45. What an amazing poem. thanks so much for sharing. I remember 10, not that it was that long ago, but i remember. I wouldn't change my childhood for anything.

  46. I love Collins sly reference to Shelley's
    I fall upon the thorns of life/I bleed.

    Collins is such a delight!
    Oddly, I don't think a photo of me at 10 exists.....
    5 and 6
    and then 13

    Not so much snapping going on in those days and no school photos....

  47. Nice .. back then did I mention that in 4th grade our teacher did silhouettes of all of us ... when we cleaned up the condo after my parents passed, I found it in the closet wrapped to keep it from getting dusty

  48. Wonderful Billy Collins! As for myself 10 was great....12 not so great. You looked adorable and I would have loved your sweater!

  49. Recycled or not, it's luminous.

  50. I love to reimisce, therefore, I appreciate this post very much. Thanks for reminding me of that youthful soul stuck inside this body of mine! :)


  51. Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

  52. Beautiful poem I will copy and write in my son's Bd card in a few days. Sadly all pictures ever taken of me were only when I was cute- they ended at age six and resumed at age 17. the middle part was too awkward, I guess- my mother was a Libra and only collected things of beauty.
    Perhaps i will just copy your cute little girl picture and use as my reminder.

  53. Ah, such a bit of wisdom about the picture of ourselves at ten. So true!

  54. Excellent post - isn't it amazing how at 10 the Arabian wizard had assumed an excellent air of confidence.

    You make me want to turn the clock back. It's a pity we can only travel in one direction. Don't you sometimes wish "back to the future" was real and we had time machines...

  55. Lovely poem and photograph of you at age 10. I have 2 photos of myself as a child on my desk. I love looking at the innocence of that little person. Thanks for the post.

  56. Very poignant post. I forgot who my ten-year-old self was. I'll have to think about that.

  57. Yes, 10 years old is a shifting time........Life never changes quite as fast again.

  58. LoveLOVE your idea....
    I think we should all follow your lead and post our "TeN" pics -


  59. In favour of recycling :-) Great to be reminded of the childhood.

  60. I loved every line, every word, every dot, every picture in this post lol

    Thank you :-)
    Take care
    peace and love

  61. thats a very poignant poem

    and a lovely photo

  62. Very nice and seems so looooong ago (4 me) ; )

  63. I have no pictures of myself as a 10 year old and am too damned ugly to have one at this age. You are lucky.

  64. And its a sweet silhouette. I will be talking about the history of that soon, for in the portrait of Ann Penington by GS, she is holding the silhouette of her mom, hanging on a golden chain....

  65. Interesting- I always think of turning ten as a moment of excited anticipation, still unaware of the turmoils ahead.

    Good idea to cherish the 'ten year-old in each of us :)

  66. Marbles, a yo-yo, a lead soldier with one arm missing, wet shoes, knee socks drooping. I can throw my cap in the air and usually catch it. Marmalade on toast.
    I've left you an award on my blog!

  67. Sweet photo of you as a child, Willow! And what a touching poem.

  68. There you are, so gorgeous and intense at age 10. I can imagine you tossing your dolls into the air, rapt with attention.


  69. I like the idea of being kind to our 10 year old self; maybe our 100 year old self as well. Thanks for this Willow.

  70. What a beautiful post, Willow. I remember being ten as if it was yesterday.. going to dig out that photo! x

  71. great idea about the photo of being 10. Actually I think I have a pastel portrait of me at that age. Perhaps it needs to sit on a wall somewhere.

    Wonderful poem too... yes I remember those teenage years when I felt I couldn't be the child I really felt like being inside.. making up for it now however.... ast 47

  72. What a truly insightful poem!

    Is the silhouette you too Willow? I remember having a silhouette done at the seaside when I was about ten. I was so impressed because the artist just cut it out without drawing round the edge first!

  73. That Billy Collins poem is one of my favourites.

  74. What a beautiful poem. It reminds me, with its wistfulness and melancholy, of my favourite poem - Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas. Glad I found your blog!


  76. ...the first big number...

    I like that line. :D

  77. Cute pic! You look like a very young version of Jackie O here.

  78. I love your hairdo. I had the same one when I was six :)

  79. This is one of the many favorites I have of Billy Collins and while still teaching I shared it with a group of 5th graders asking them to think about his memories of being 10. Such a wistful time in my own life with so much change just ahead of me...Thanks for sharing this.

  80. Hi!Willow,
    Thanks, for sharing the poem and the "wonderment" of childhood imagination being lost in a sense,(but of course, not completely...) after turning 10years old. I find your blog to be very fascinating!
    Deedee ;-D


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)