July 22, 2009

What is a Boy?

I have always loved this poem:

“Boys are found everywhere-on top of, underneath, inside of, climbing on, swinging from, running around or jumping to. Mothers love them, little girls hate them, older sisters and brothers tolerate them, adults ignore them and Heaven protects them. A boy is Truth with dirt on its face, Beauty with a cut on its finger, Wisdom with bubble gum in its hair and the Hope of the future with a frog in its pocket.”

I have finally tracked down what I think is the rest of the poem, just below. It was apparently written by Alan Beck in 1949. Here is the whole work. If you have different or more information, please let me know.


What is a Boy?


Boys come in assorted sizes, weights, and colors. They are found everywhere – on top of, underneath, inside of, climbing on, swinging from, running around or jumping to. Mothers love them, little girls hate them, older brothers and sisters tolerate them, adults ignore them and Heaven protects them.

A boy is Truth with dirt on its face, Wisdom with bubblegum in its hair and Hope of the future with a frog in its pocket. A boy has the appetite of a horse, the digestion of a sword swallower, the energy of a pocket size atomic bomb, the curiosity of a cat, the lungs of a dictator, the imagination of Paul Bunyan, the shyness of a violet, the audacity of a steel trap, the enthusiasm of a firecracker, and when he makes something he has five thumbs on each hand.

He likes ice cream, knives, saws, Christmas, comic books, the boy across the street, woods, water (in its natural habitat), large animals, Dad, trains, Saturday mornings, and fire engines. He is not much for Sunday school, company, schools, books without pictures, music lessons, neckties, barbers, girls, overcoats, adults, or bedtime.

Nobody else is so early to rise or so late to supper. No one else can cram into one pocket a rusty knife, a half eaten apple, three feet of string, an empty Bull Durham sack, two gumdrops, six cents, a slingshot, a chunk of unknown substance, and a genuine supersonic code ring with a secret compartment.

A boy is a magical creature – you can lock him out of your workshop, but you can’t lock him out of your heart. You can get him out of your study, but you can’t get him out of your mind. Might as well give up - he is your captor, your jailer, your boss and your master – a freckle faced, pint sized bundle of noise. But when you come home at night with only the shattered pieces of your hopes and dreams, he can mend them with two words – “Hi Dad!”


1 comment:

  1. Amy D.4:25 PM

    I absolutely love this.
    Made me cry.
    Thanks Dad.

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