Childhood's End
by James Keller


In childhood seeking treasure
without wanting to possess it, for
the moment we want to own it,
it disappears forever.
Our daydreams are rivers
we raft on, drifting with
the current wherever it takes us,
in willow shade or bright starlight.

Our childhood gone, we may find
it briefly in middle-age
awakened by the ripple of birdsong
with the quiet splash of fish
leaf-shaded by a tree
full of orange blossoms
that fall softly into a garden
organizing its flower show.

But seeing our childhood again
how completely gone it is
as it projects its beauty on the screen
of memory, but briefly,
brief as a spring shadow
or kisses on young lips
that promise the world in the moonlight
then fades so quickly in the dawn.