ann marie mckenzie

(A poem of the reflection on a time in my childhood life.)

I wish, oh I wish for impossible things,

A certain simple happiness that childhood often brings.

first off  I wished we had a kitchen,

like some friends, I usually went visiting.

And used to torment myself with hoping we’d get a sofa,

to replace the creaking patio chair we had in that area.

Oh our tiny chapel looking house was just fragments,

of this and that; of people’s once upon a time convenience.

A comfort they’d out grown,

out-of-dated pieces, almost now unknown.


I wished my dad had loved us,

And wished we hadn’t caused him such disgust.

To him we were a burden of grief,

So he stayed away to find relief,

of the idea he had no children or wife,

and that he led a splendid single life.


I wished my mother didn’t have to starve to death,

At meal times when there’s not much left.

She’d make one scrambled egg go eight times around,

with golf ball Johnny cakes, she sometimes wear a frown.


Well, we had a small Formica dining table,

One of the few pieces we were able,

to own and a box spring single bed for the boys,

us girls, coir mattress twin bed was a joy.


But I mostly, terribly wished we had a TV,

to watched ‘The Little House on The Prairie’,

and ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ on Friday nights some.

Oh it was exultingly hard; kind of bitter-sweet fun,


to watch the show from outside the neighbor’s window sill,

on those between moon nights, at times in the after rain chill.

And on the cliff hanger, we’d rushed on home,

filled with excitement, but glad it was done.


Because as soon we fled the night street,

We’d sneaked under hole riddled beds sheet,

and better be quiet or less we’d be caught,

but in good spirit, we can’t wait for  next week’s part.


I wished we didn’t have to walk,

one long mile and a half.

To fetch water, carrying on our heads,

In five gallon white paint buckets on makeshift Kata beds,


And wished we didn’t have to wake in the wee hours of the morning,

to gather fire woods and prepare it for makeshift stove burning,

then mother would do all the rest,

and make, to us, the finest breakfast.


I wished we didn’t stay so long in church on a typical Sunday,

as we’d have to walk two miles to school early  start Monday.

I wished we had time to play more last lick and hide and seek,

and dolly houses and not seen as the neighborhood freaks.

and wished we’d wear more better looking clothes,

instead of those off sizes foreign outdated church relief hand me downs.


I wished my dad had supported me,

rather than spend his money on my mother’s matey.

And wished he’d paid my brilliant brain big sister’s exam fee,

So she could advance to college in the city.


I really wished he hadn’t move to Kingston,

leaving us and mother, abandoned.

And wished my mother was a nurse,

as she told us she was studying the course.

But after she’d married my dad,

She could no more afford to, life was bad.


I used to wish I was rich like some kids at my school.

They had nice things, trendy bag pack and shoes that rule,

And lots of lunch money to show off with and spend.

Oh our poverty life knows no end.


I wished my mother hadn’t drag me along,

when she couldn’t manage the days’ work on some,

of the times when the washing job got too hard,

and her arthritis hands and whitlow fingers swelled and hurt bad.


And I just wished I could dismissed the feelings I had,

of shame, inferiority, eternal poorness, degradation, that made me so sad.

I wished I didn’t have to tell my childhood story to you so raw,

But I think after so long ago, I feel somewhat thaw.

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