By Markus Natten
In the poem ‘Childhood’, Markus Natten depicts the reality of childhood innocence gradually transforming into adult rationality, hypocrisy and individuality. The poem begins with the poet wondering when did his childhood go – was it the day he ceased to be eleven; was it the day when he could distinguish between fantasy and reality by realizing that heaven and hell don’t exist since they are not found in geography books; was it the day when he could understand the hypocrisy of adults by realizing that people were not all that they pretended to be; or was it the day when he became conscious of his own growing individuality by realising that he had a mind of his own and that he was capable of producing thoughts and opinions that were different from other people.
In the final lines, the poet concludes the speculations in his mind regarding his lost childhood. He now tries to understand where his childhood has gone. Though he is not aware of the day he lost his childhood, he knows that it has gone to some forgotten place, that is, on the face of an infant. The poet believes that though his childhood has become a memory for him, it has become a reality for some other child. Childhood is a cyclic process, where it leaves one person and goes to another.