If I Knew Then . . .

If I knew then what I know now
would it have changed the way
I wasted so much time before
what hair I have’s turned grey?

Would I have been much kinder to
parents, lovers, friends,
whom now I understand I must
have driven round the bend?

And drunk much less and saved much more
and thought about a pension,
and crammed a dozen languages
and been a name to mention

as someone on a flightpath to
the very, very top
with a wow CV – mine merely lists
flop after flop after flop . . .

And would we still be what we were
for a year or two at best,
until I felt the need to hurt
you, and myself, and test

your patience past the breaking point
seeking intensity
rather than happiness, deceived
by a mug’s wish to be ‘free’?

But then again, am I, inside,
any wiser now?
I still wake up each morning with
a heart predicting how

the day ahead will be defined
by a different set of rules:
am I alone in being so dumb
or are we all such fools –

stuck at twenty-five within
while sixty-plus without,
and ripe for all the same mistakes,
learning precisely nowt?

Tom Vaughan

If you have any thoughts on this poem, Tom Vaughan  would be pleased to hear them.