Childhood by Frances Cornford


by Frances Cornford

I used to think that grown-up people chose

To have stiff backs and wrinkles round their nose,

And veins like small fat snakes on either hand,

On purpose to be grand.

Till through the banisters I watched one day

My great-aunt Etty’s friend who was going away,

And how her onyx beads had come unstrung.

I saw her grope to find them as they rolled;

And then I knew that she was helplessly old,

As I was helplessly young.