Childhood Falls

music by Peter Crane, Rick Mealey, Paula Naveda, and Josh Walsh

lyrics by Rick Mealey


It fades into the misty wood

a doe I left my dinner for

she watches from the forest

used to be my old back yard

somebody needed office space


it’s harder to remember now

the days we all played army there

me and neighbor boys

whose names I’ve long since forgotten

a vaguely remembered face

from another time and place


childhood falls like water

running down from this year’s mountain thaw

hold it back

hold it back


but we teach our children to excel

by standards we can’t name

work their field relentlessly

and show no signs of shame

tell them win at any cost

but when we lose the game

we sure know who to blame


so we feed them on our fears

push them past their prime

wise before their years

old before their time


summers by a clearer sea

when skin could turn a healthy brown

showing Mum and Dad

the hermit crab I found

out on the bar of sand


walking out to Marshall’s Island

the snakes and gulls that beat retreat

a time of wonder

receding with the poisoned tide

so much I still don’t understand

the secret was in the palm of my hand


childhood falls with speed of light

distorted by an ill-formed glass

hold it up

hold it up


see us overwork the underaged

and not let up the beating

perpetuate our childish thoughts

and childish ways of being

discourage creativity

and childlike ways of seeing

and the necessary dreaming


while we feed them on our fears

stop them on a dime

wise before their years

old before their time


we tell them, sonny, take this book

make sure you do just what we said

read chapters one to twenty-three

them Japs and Krauts are way ahead

we’re falling way behind

you know we’ve got a long long way to go


now here’s the lesson, memorize it

you don’t like it, them’s the breaks

learn it early, learn it well

it’s you who’ll pay for our mistakes

and for our luxuries

luxuries that you may never know


recite all thirty pages of your homework from last evening

you don’t need to know what it implies

you just have to trust us that it’s right

’cause we say it is


no time for youthful pleasures

now there isn’t even time for youth

there’s work to be done

we need all hands

let’s hit them while they can’t hit back


childhood falls a sanguine red

from a fast-retiring innocence

we hold it down

we gun it down


stampede them all with trivia

and pass along the billing

by all means train them not to think

they’ll be forever willing

now twelve year olds are dating

having children while they’re chilling

thirteen year olds are killing


while we feed them on our fears

never see the crime

wise before their years

old before their time


(c)1995 (p) 2009 @Fulcrum


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