Innocence Lost

Albert Carrying Pogo - Walt Kelly

Albert Carrying Pogo – Walt Kelly (Photo credit: Lynn (Gracie’s mom))

Sure, I learned at a too early age
that good guys and bad guys
shop at the same hat store and
it would always be hard to tell
the malevolent from the beneficent
by their haberdashery.
And despite the jingo flingers’
attempts to sell you their scorecards
touting who’s who of the white clad
home side and which of the unshaven thugs
in gray deserve the most contempt,
the streets taught me, once dirtied
in this neverending game,
we all look pretty much alike.

I regret not remembering those
days of sweet, youthful ignorance
I’m sure I once wore like
a wee clip-on bowtie.
If it wasn’t hearing nice Mr. B
arrested a few times for whooping
on the missus that infected childhood,
maybe it was my precocious reading skills.
I was slogging through the swampy
newspaper the day old Walt Kelly
in his possum suit taught me
“We have met the enemy,
and he is us.”

19 thoughts on “Innocence Lost

  1. Pingback: Innocence Lost | Rebel Darling

  2. Hmmmm… So touching. It seems there is nothing much youth can actually do in those growing-up years to knock off the enemy lurking around. Some survivie it by sheer luck. Deep and thoughtful one from my man Joe.

  3. You have really made me think with this poem. How DO we tell the goodies from the baddies? Aren’t we all a bit of a mixture of both? Maybe with a dash more good or bad, but much of a muchness for the majority.

  4. As an educator I am always wresting for the innocence, curiosity, and hope of the next generation. We may be the enemy, but we are a battle that can be won, it is so much harder to win another without casualties.

  5. This is really bittersweet, the way you portray this echoes, to me, as playful but in the end the context is more saddening. Innocence is always lost too early, isn’t it? It deteriorates at a younger age than we tend to realize, and we are actually the ones deteriorating it with our good-guy-bad-guy models. When I was younger I would always wonder why it was so black and white; obviously, had there been an in-the-middle guy who had the best of both worlds, it would have been him we select as most evil. There are surprisingly many of those in children’s shows, by the way. Anyway, I absolutely loved your choice of words. Thanks for the read 🙂

  6. This really interested me, and reminded me of why I love the British TV series “Midsomer Murders” . It gives a feeling of nostalgia in the form of remembering how as a child it felt to think about bad people and to “know” that things turnout alright in the end.

  7. Yesterday we lost a little more innocence and the sound heard ’round the world is a pressure cooker loaded with BBs and blasting powder. It is beyond sad, beyond tragic, beyond words when runners and their loved ones lose their legs, their lives. You express with amazing restraint, the anger, the anguish we all feel. Carry on, my friend.

  8. Your poem brought back memories of Mad Comics’ “Spy vs Spy”, which gave the impression that the world was painted in black and white. I guess a left-over from the cold war era? Fine poem, thanks.

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