"We Remember Your Childhood Well" is a poem by British poet Carol Ann Duffy, published in her 1990 collection "The Other Country." Told from the perspective of parents responding to the accusations of their presumably grown child, it deals with the vastly different ways in which parents and children may remember the same events. The parents' authoritative tone suggests the harm parents may inflict on their children by refusing to acknowledge their children's point of view, while the poem's ambiguity allows readers to focus less on whose interpretation of events is right and more on the family's inability to communicate successfully.
Nobody hurt you. ...
... else all night.
The bad man ...
... locked the door.
Your questions were ...
... fire. Anyone's guess.
Nobody forced you. ...
... inside your head.
What you recall ... have the facts.
We called the ...
... Boom. Boom. Boom.
Nobody sent you ...
... ended in tears.
What does it matter now?
No, no, nobody ...
... open for Hell.
You were loved. ...
... your childhood well.
Select any word below to get its definition in the context of the poem. The words are listed in the order in which they appear in the poem.
Carol Ann Duffy's Biography — Learn more about Carol Ann Duffy's life and work courtesy of the Poetry Foundation.
A Profile of the Poet — Take a look at Carol Ann Duffy and her work in this profile by The Guardian.
The Dramatic Monologue — A collection of other poems that, like "We Remember Your Childhood Well," utilize the form of the dramatic monologue.
The Bad Man on the Moors — A biography of Ian Brady, the "bad man on the moors."
1Nobody hurt you. Nobody turned off the light and argued
2with somebody else all night. The bad man on the moors
3was only a movie you saw. Nobody locked the door.
4Your questions were answered fully. No. That didn't occur.
5You couldn't sing anyway, cared less. The moment's a blur, a Film Fun
6laughing itself to death in the coal fire. Anyone's guess.
7Nobody forced you. You wanted to go that day. Begged. You chose
8the dress. Here are the pictures, look at you. Look at us all,
9smiling and waving, younger. The whole thing is inside your head.
10What you recall are impressions; we have the facts. We called the tune.
11The secret police of your childhood were older and wiser than you, bigger
12than you. Call back the sound of their voices. Boom. Boom. Boom.
13Nobody sent you away. That was an extra holiday, with people
14you seemed to like. They were firm, there was nothing to fear.
15There was none but yourself to blame if it ended in tears.
16What does it matter now? No, no, nobody left the skidmarks of sin
17on your soul and laid you wide open for Hell. You were loved.
18Always. We did what was best. We remember your childhood well.