when do we stop being a child

Pacific Northwest Ballet corps de ballet dancer Andrew Bartee as the Nutcracker in the fight scene from PNB’s Stowell/Sendak Nutcracker. Photo © Angela Sterling

when do we stop being a child

when do we stop being a child
attracted to candyland
eating charms off a page of fantasy
living an Atari game life?

a nucleic dance.
colorful alchemic snatches.
patented monsters
who march to their
distinctive leitmotifs;
deeply connected
to sounds of flute and horn.

he put his soul toward
regaining happiness;
an awkward cuteness.
representational adults
walking the road
riding the toad
ordering a la mode;
living things that only eat sweets.

easy to understand
masterpiece literature.
sisson, tombé, pas de bourrée.
king of the meeces
born for the very first time.
assemblé, royalé
time to fall in love
with dolls.
time to give a trusting hand
to a charming prince
of a country without a name.


Written for:

Poetics: Sendak & the Wild Things

Since I used to live in Seattle and had gone to see the Maurice Sendak version of the Nutcracker, this is what I let inspire me for the above poem.

Today’s prompt, by Brian Miller was to write a poem “about anything Maurice Sendak related. Be it his books, any memories you have of his words or images, his personal life or even putting yourself into one of his stories. Or maybe even try to see the world as a child may see it.”

Image credit: nutcracker tutu & dancewear

About zongrik

For those of you who do not know the handle "zongrik," that would be Bat-Ami Gordin. Most people call me "Tammy." Bat-Ami means "daughter of my nation" in Hebrew. It's a heavy name to carry around. I answer to either name. I also answer to "mama." Some Basic Things about me: Animal lover, mom, poet/writer, dramatic soprano, photographer, teacher/tutor, CERT/Technician and, oh yeah, aerospace engineer. I consider myself "The Astro-Poet." To learn more about the origins of the word "zongrik" see whats-a-zongrik?

Posted on May 12, 2012, in D’verse Poets Pub, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. what…there’s a Maurice Sendak version of the Nutcracker..? this is wicked cool…and i really don’t wanna ever stop being a child…trying to save a bit of the childhood magic into adult life..smiles

  2. I’m with Claudia…a M. Sendak version of the Nutcracker ? WoW.
    This reading of memories of childhood makes me sad as I seldom got to be a child in the
    Sendak sense of the word. I am trying in the twilight of my life to pay attention to all the mentions of childhood and be more spontaneous and “real” now.
    Peace and love,
    Siggi in Downeast Maine

  3. hobgoblin2011

    So much to like here. The notion of childhood is strong here, especially the italicized lyrical flow in the 3rd stanza, but the very real serious nature of adulthood that is uncovered in the final stanza is crazy strong. Love it, and the 2nd stanza, well I just love everything about it. Thanks

  4. It would have been cool to see a Sendak version of Nutcracker… trying to hold on to that imaginative world of a child for as long as I can…in between reality!

  5. Lovely! I was never a child when I was an actual child. In fact, I only became a child after meeting my then future husband. I intend to remain a child, as best I can. 🙂

  6. didggin’ the internal flow and an answer…never if you don’t grow up….


    ps…been a bad bad blogboy lately,,,so sorry

  7. Nice to hold onto that little bit of magic that all kids believe in. Lucky that you got to see his version of the Nutcracker, I bet it was good!

  8. Beautiful poem. Maybe we stop BEING a child when we manage to internalise him/her.

  9. I always wanted to see Sendak’s Nutcracker, it never came near me in England…
    Thank you though for helping me get halfway to seeing it through your words though…
    and thank you for joining the wild rumpus.

  10. i def want to hold onto childhood as long as i can…i find it sad that many have to let it go far too early in life….and what a wake up call it is when we get there as well…

  11. That would have been interesting to watch…despite everything, inside all of us, is a child believing in prince charming and fairy tales ~

  12. I think adults myself certainly are pretty childish! But not in the openness to enjoyment or perhaps the overcoming of fear. Really interesting response to the prompt. K.

  13. Without play there is no imaginative leap!

  14. Living the likes of a child is a form of escapism. It can be an obsession. I would like to stretch it now to enjoy the freedom of childhood in adult life as long as we aren’t a nuisance to those around us. Great write Tammy!


  15. poemsofhateandhope

    Just had me as a child wandering through a candy land and listening to the flutes and music….really enjoyed you giving your poem must that little more space (I know you’re a master of the short form)….just great imagery – I’m not really familiar with Sendak apart from Where the wild things are- but this made me want to discover more

  16. Potent close zongrik, enjoyed this!

  17. I think we should never stop being a child. Loved this piece.

  18. Losing that innocence is required to become an adult yet must be maintained for its ability to shape and nurture our dreams to be human. Excellent expression of the child’s world.

  19. So cool…we need to keep that child like part of ourselves so we can keep finding wonder in the world. Thanks for this great poem! I’ll have to find a video of that version of the Nutcracker.

  20. This is great, full of delectable images and marvelous diction (the fact that you used ‘leitmotifs’ made my day)!

  21. TheStrangerPage

    Puppets rule! MEAT Clown Approved!

  22. A Maurice Sendak version of The Nutcracker? Oh, what a delight! I love the images you present in this. I can almost hear the music. (They did use the traditional Tchaikovsky, didn’t they?)

  23. Fun word choices… but I did have to look up leitmotifs!

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