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Topic: Brad Cran

Heather Simeney MacLeod on Brad Cran's "On Childhood"

(How Poems Work, June 2005)
Brad Cran’s poem “On Childhood” works on several levels, as most evocative and strong pieces of writing do. It is fundamentally a lamentation of childhood, of loss, imbued with particulars. The poem suggests a strange almost melancholic longing for what most thirty-somethings have in common: the sophisticated childhood gleaned from growing up in the aftermath of free-love. It speaks to the children moving out from the communes filled with doodleart and ponchos, finding Clifford Olsen (for those of us from BC) calling us at dusk from our cul-de-sacs : “We dreamt of bloodied hammers,/ a bad man and a rusty van hunched down/ in the parking lot of Safeway.” However–and this not an easy task to undertake, let alone to succeed at in such a small, contained piece of writing–the loss of childhood is made tactile. It becomes real, remembered, the loss irrevocable: “This tree I passed every night without interest/ until the potential of slick rubber tires,/ the sparkling handlebars that I gripped/ as my imagination pedaled off into the night, / where what exists around the corner is left/ out of the lens.” Cran has the ability to articulate the universal grief of growing up, and leaving behind the child we once were….