When Lincoln wasn’t famous…

Lincoln as a Boy

They say that for a famous man
it is unusual to know so little about his youth,
what it was like in Hodgenville,
when did he grow so tall and gangly
and did other children mock him and
why he was so fond of the axe,
and what of the rusticness of his birth
in a log cabin, or the sadness of his heart
when his mother died when he
was just nine years old,
and what he learned in just one year
of schooling that made him think
he could just show up one day
in New Salem and make it his land;
I tell my children they aren’t this lucky
because we wrote down everything
they did and said and photographed
their first and every step after that
with such duty that they can’t
escape their past
so they shouldn’t even try.