Title: Innocent Questions (Boy Grows to Man)
Author: RonneeM
URL: none
Main Character: JD
Universe: OW
Genre: GEN poetry

Innocent Questions

(Boy Grows to Man)

How old is old enough to serve, to protect?

Wide, soft brown eyes that radiate guileless youth

Confirm innocent exuberance and sparkle with curiosity

Hide ageless determination and ruthless stubbornness.

How young is too young to fight for right?

A jaw covered with the soft, pale hair of youth

Does little to redeem an unlined, unmarked face

Both hide a firm, unbending conscience.

How innocent is too gullible for sense?

Pushing forward with boundless enthusiasm

Trying to prove untried and newly acquired skills

Actions which hide a keen intelligence and surprising ability.

But innocence can vanish, never to be regained

A single bullet that is first blood – first kill

The shot misfired that causes 'collateral' damage

Each one rips away some of the innocence so precious.

Youth slowly, steadily retreats as times passes

The fine, flawless skin forms lines of laughter and pain

The softness becomes coarse, ground down by age and experience

Until youth remains only in the heart, spirit, and attitude.

As time passes, youth flees, innocence vanishes

Branding the eyes, robbing the naiveté, erasing their spark

Dulling the guileless exuberance

That once were the trademarks of the young.

The man who matured out of the boy

Now holds his curiosity in check but never forgets it

His exuberance is tapped as a source of boundless energy

The stubbornness and determination are unchanged.

As his gullibility fades, he hides his remaining innocence from view

The untried skills are now steady, proven, and true

The boundless enthusiasm is still there, but dampened

And his intelligence and ability shine forth.

Like facets of a brilliant stone that only appear

With the skilled strokes of a master jewelsmith

So the youth becomes a man grown into his full potential

Under the watchful, guarded eyes of his companions.