I T’ink of childhood days again,
      An’ wish dat I was free
To res’ me baby head once more
      Upon me mudder’s knee:
If we had power to change dis life
      An’ live it back again,
We would be children all de time
      Nor fret at childhood’s pain.

I look on my school life of old,
      Dem sweet days dat are pas’,
An’ wonder how I’d wish to see
      Those dear times en’ at las’:
It was because I was a boy,
      An’ knew not what b’en good;
All time I tas’e de supple-jack,
      Bein’ I was so rude.

An’ o’ de marnings when I woke,
      ’Fo’ you can see you’ han’,
I mek me way on to de spring
      Fe full me bucket-pan:
I t’ought ofttimes dat it was hard
      For me to wake so soon;
Dere was no star fe light de way,
      Much more de white roun’ moon.

Still, childhood pain could neber las’,
      An’ i remember yet
De many sorrows ’cross me pat’
      Dat neber mek me fret:
But now me joys are only few,
      I live because I’m boun’,
An’ try fe mek my life of use
      Though pain lie all aroun’.

From Songs of Jamaica (Aston W. Gardner & Co., 1912) by Claude McKay. This poem is in the public domain.