I Never Walked Down Sycamore St.

by Ken Harnisch

Funny how it is
I never walked down Sycamore St.
As a boy, looking
For the odd route home
The long way
So I would not have to
Face the wrath of
Report card readers
And doting aunts
Who would try to protect me
From the twice-doubled anger
Of those who had raised me in the first place.
Sycamore had those lovely trees,
Oaks and chestnuts mostly
The name coming from some realtor
Who knighted the surrounding community
After glades and woods and streams
And then did everything in his power to
Chop and level and pave it over
Ah, but that is the jaded eye looking back
When I see Sycamore, I see the stately Colonials and the
Green milk lawns, rolling to the sidewalk
The girls double-dutching
The boys on bikes whose wheels clattered
From the baseball cards
They had stuffed between the spikes.
I see a girl, too
Who lived on Sycamore
Couldn’t have been  much older than my eleven
With soft curtains of brown hair
That blew across her face
In the slightest breeze
The one with no name who scared me
In a way
That my angry parents never could


Author's Note: they played Tag, too, on Sycamore Mel..:) And many thanks to Kathleen for her well-said and right-on editing suggestions!

Posted on 09/26/2007
Copyright © 2022 Ken Harnisch

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Kathleen Wilson on 09/26/07 at 01:49 PM

Charming, with deep overtones. There are such moments here-- I love the contrasts that give mystery to the whole. Like childhood--it is not just simple. The "double anger", "double dutching" and in the end the "girl" with soft curtains of brown hair who scared me in a way my Angry parents never could" all these are part of the dark side. I like the "curtains" of her hair--almost as if she was a house on that street! So I think she's why you did not walk there. That's an interesting subtle ingredient. Love the cicada-baseball card sound in the poem too.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 09/26/07 at 07:01 PM

Oh, my, I do like this. Great recollections of a time and place of your past. The effects of your childhood come through clearly, pain and beauty, the angst of growing up in a particular place. I like that you give enough specifics to place you at an age, and hints of family members surrounding you, along with childhood friends. I do not know what a "green milk lawn" is, but the idea of milk fascinates me in this kind of setting. (??) Just a fine, fine last stanza. +favs

Posted by Jane E Pearce on 09/28/07 at 09:31 PM

What an epistle to all our treasured memories-the streets-the loves-those tiny tucked away things that make us what we are today. Most excellent poem.

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 09/29/07 at 03:39 PM

I loved this Ken. Rich in every sense of the word, visually...emotionally. I was walking there with you throughout the poem, taking in the sites and memories. It reminded me of my own Sycamore Street, lost till now in the dusty photo album in the attic of my mind.

Posted by Elizabeth Jill on 10/02/07 at 12:19 AM

I will just soak this poem up and keep melting with it. This is a joy to read, bringing so much irony and splendour into the same room it narratively explains the real scoop of childhood events. Love it love it adore it! óJill

Posted by Don Matley on 10/02/07 at 01:16 PM

A very excellent work.I can relate to the images as they are spot on. Very enjoyable read and so well done. Congrats and thanks.

Posted by Kris Mara on 05/26/09 at 07:51 PM

the imagery in this is amazing -- you show so much of the scene and trip back in time, all while keeping the piece extremely focused....just amazing.

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