When does Boyhood end?







When does boyhood end?

For some it’s leaving school

To get a job or leaving school

To get no job at all, or buying

A drink for the first time on your own

Or the first time, properly that is,

With a girl or having to shave

The bristles off and not just fluff

Or for some the day you learned to drive

Or the day you had to dress

In a suit and tie for a grandad’s

Funeral or else some other

Personal, private, unforgotten thing,

Too personal in fact to mention.

For me, the night my father

Left me to the boat will count for that.

Eighteen and able to marry,

Able to vote, able to fight

In her Majesty’s Army, I was still

Inside a child, away to university

In England in a Liverpool ferryboat,

Packed tight with home-bound

Squaddies, watching at two or three

In the morning, the lights of

The Isle of Man sail by

As I stood on the deck and felt the cold

Wind rise on the Irish Sea and

Heard the gulls and knew that when manhood

Starts, in a sense, you’re on your own.

Philip Orr is a Writer, Historian and Political Commentator



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