An Australian chip manufacturer ran a forgettable advertising campaign in 1996 that had a theme "When I was young". I think the campaign was aimed at the younger generation and focused on how older people often look back through rose tinted spectacles and say things like "In my day……".

Thankfully the campaign didn't run that long but the thought stayed with me and over the next six months I would hear or see things that fitted this pattern. This poem is a collection of those observations coupled with my own experiences.
 
When I was young…


When I was young,
I would never be this old,
I was going to save the world,
And hear my story told.
 
When I was young,
Sixpence was a treat,
Bought tuppence worth a chips,
And a Saturday morning seat.
 
When I was young,
I was ever so uncouth,
I felt less insecure,
And had the confidence of youth.
 
When I was young,
I wasn't this fat,
Had a tight little bum,
And a stomach which was flat.
 
When I was young,
Summer seemed to never end,
And if the question was asked,
You would have died for a friend.
 
When I was young,
We knew they were only joking,
When they warned us,
About cancer and smoking.
 
When I was young,
Didn't know the word stress,
And how life, (if you let it),
Can end up in a mess.
 
When I was young,
Didn't drink on every day,
Didn't need to,
And wouldn't, any way.
 
When I was young,
I saw men at their machines,
Making shoes for the well heeled,
I wonder what happened to their dreams ?
 
When I was young,
The good guys would survive,
But I still believed in God,
And Dad was still alive.
 
When I was young,
A computer filled a room.
Now my typewriter,
Could put a man on the moon.
 
When I was young,
We didn't have Pay,
There was always the Xmas movie,
And one on Boxing Day.
 
When I was young,
Comments were sometimes made,
That would now be classed as racist,
But a spade is still a spade.
 
When I was young,
Nobody had ever seen,
The hole in the ozone,
And the rivers weren't blue green.
 
When I was young,
AIDS was not about,
And they were still in the closet,
Not daring to come out.
 
When I was young,
We told Biafran jokes,
Today they're still starving,
Same problem, different folks.
 
When I was young,
I had more use for a comb,
And life seemed safer,
Nobody invaded your home.
 
And now I look back,
Through my pair of rose tints,
How do we forget the bad times,
And not the good ones since ?
 
But the real scary thing,
And I do know this somehow,
Today is what I will long for,
In a few years from now.

Copyright Allen Jesson :) 1996-2001

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