Growing Up: a poem

BY MATTHEW CHONG
Staff Writer

Just a year ago,
I took
My first steps.

One in front,
One behind. Mom and Dad
Cheering me on.

Just a month ago,
I started
My first day at school.

Made a friend here,
Made a friend there.
Teachers and whiteboards,
Homework everywhere.

Just a day ago,
I kissed
The girl of my dreams.

Nothing more to say,
About that thing.
Why am I saying this?
Why are you listening?

Just an hour ago,
I said
Hello to my newborn child.

I laughed,
She cried.
I thank the Maker
For being so kind.

Now, with only seconds left,
I smile
At a life well-lived.

The world demanded of me,
“Give me your best,”
And I hope I fulfilled
That lofty request.

Marriage, family,
Friends for life?
Yeah, I think I did
Just fine.

Author’s note: 

The week before spring break, a close family member was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer. The event reminded me of the shortness of life, and forced me to re-examine my own long-term goals. At the end of my life, I would like my last lines to echo those of the speaker.   

In this poem, an old man reflects on the life that he is leaving behind, hoping that he did the best he could with what little time he had. Before he dies, the speaker realizes that life is a matter of precious seconds which must be used sparingly.

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