Childhood is not from birth to a certain age and at a certain age
The child is grown, and puts away childish things.
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.
Nobody that matters, that is. Distant relatives of course
Die, whom one never has seen or has seen for an hour,
And they went away, and cannot really be said to have lived at all.
But you do not wake up in the middle of the night for them
And weep, with your knuckles in your mouth, and say Oh, God! Oh, God!
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies that matters,
—mothers and fathers don’t die.
Tomorrow, or even the day after tomorrow if you’re busy having fun,
Is plenty of time to say, “I’m sorry, father.”
To be grown up is to sit at the table with people who have died.
—adapted from the poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay