In recent months something strange has been going on in my writing, especially in my poetry writing. I’ve found myself being drawn, almost against my will, to explore and write about my childhood. In the past couple of years I’ve written several poems that explore the world of my childhood.

I had an emotionally difficult (emotionally barren would probably be a more accurate description) childhood and for most of my adult life I thought that I had put it behind me. I even felt a mixture of relief and a certain small amount of pride in the fact that I had successfully overcome my childhood and had firmly shut the door on it behind me. But then after all these many years, in my early 60s, for some reason I started to get interested in my childhood. And the more I thought about it the more mysterious it seemed.

I grew up in an emotionally dysfunctional family in which there was never any affection expressed. In fact there was not much communication of any kind. My parents were distant, my siblings were distant, everyone was distant. The world I grew up in was strange, uncanny. It was as if I were hanging out in the middle of space, a vulnerable little person with no knowledge of the world, and with no connection to anyone or anything. Alone in an empty universe. Now I look back on myself in that faraway childhood world and feel great compassion for my child self, and more importantly, great compassion for all children who grow up confused and alone. There is something of myself in them.

I now think that I will probably never completely give up these mental explorations of my childhood, that strange world that only seems to get more vast and inexplicable the more I delve into it. It has turned out to be inexhaustible.