Return (1973)


by Marc Mangel


If only I could return to six

ah what joy and gladness that would be

and have the chance to once more live

and not make the same mistakes you see

Just small mistakes, no real pains

No abominable tortures to mar my way

just simple little slicks in my path

that quietly and surely slowed my gains

Once more to breath the air of being

six and young and free

to reach the wind that plays delicately

upon each and every tree

Or too indeed play delicately with soft

locks of my first love

I wonder how and where and why she is not

and if she, my slender dove,

does too wish for a return to six (I truly doubt it)

To return to uninhibited discovery

and reckless adventure through worlds unknown

discovery so pure that its joy

reaps the harvest of a field freshly sown


Ah to return to six and to grow once more

Through those pains and nonpains of

what we calla adolescence– or perhaps one big sore

Perhaps not proper to mention here,

but that first erection was indeed a surprise

in the midst of a birthday

to begin to rise and—

we’d best not go on in detail

Or indeed that first shave in itself

the measure of a boy’s manliness

that is only a tiny little elf

And first dates and driving, all those

too are nice

but still, still I’d rather pick

the cracking of the ice

those years between six and ten

not the wonder years but rather

the wondrous years


And when I’m sixty, perhaps more withered,

perhaps already rotted

No doubt I’ll still yearn for six

for joyous six for sumptuous six for

free six for sick six for small and big six

for all that six is or was or

truly might have been

for in this life only one thing is forbidden

and that is the return to



May 1973

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