A Man of the Twentieth Century



A pencil in hand, I stand, I am
a man of the Twentieth Century.
I don’t understand your culture, your land;
though, it must be rich, this sudden switch,
but I know it just can’t be penury.

We talk the same talk – or we do somewhat –
but your penchants all leave me to wondering.
I don’t understand, are you a polyglot man?
Have you goals, or are you just meandering?

I don’t understand, I am a man,
a man of the Twentieth Century.
It might be apparent, I may be your parent;
but you are so mixed and so sundry.

It might be apparent, that you as inherent
are not of the same land and century.
So where do we go  to get on with this show?
It’s apparent that you are my progeny.

But I swear it’s your culture and the land I don’t know,
though in my own time, the same thing was probably so.

[Revised 3Jan12.]

Copyright © 2011 Marvin Loyd Welborn. All Rights Reserved.



  1. depends on where in the world these 20th century men stand…they could be as far from each other regarding opinions, traditions and point of view like sun and moon..well penned and
    rgd. your comment…thanks so much..and yes..english is my second language

  2. Such a truthful and honest look at change and shifting patterns, disorientation that becomes, when looking between eras or when simply discovering other cultures. Great job, really enjoyed the piece. Thanks

  3. I agree with you.. but I would like to think, though I probably share the same time perspective as you, that I can move and glide with the time. It takes patience but I do find today’s stuff so exciting. Now the young men and women – they need a lot of time and understanding.

    wonderful share ~

  4. what a wonderful poem showing the comparisons of the generations..
    flowed very nice and I really enjoyed this.
    Thank you for sharing


  5. It’s the conversation I had at dinner! The times we find ourselves thinking “kids these days”. They’ve been creeping up to about once a week lately. Next thing ya know I’ll be voting Conservative.

  6. It is a strange place to be in when things have changed so much. This poem expresses this well from the point of view of the parent.

    Your poem makes me think of the movie “Barbarian Invasions” which is about this and more. Great film!

  7. I really understand this. I have a 15 year old teen who right now thinks she knows everything there ever was or will be and that I am nowhere close to understanding anything at all.
    I’m told it lasts until they are about 21. Great write 🙂

  8. Sad but true. The land of the young is always the land of our own youth, and that of our children a foreign shore many times. It does seem to get better as they age, I’ve noticed, because you have shared the same years, albeit at different ages, but you have to wait till they’re old enough to appreciate nostalgia. ;_)
    Your 20th century man phrase reminds me of the song by that title by the Kinks–“I’m a Twentieth Century man but I don’t wanna be here. “

  9. i like how you say “a man of the twentieth century” in the 21st century – in my mind those words provide a certain quality of the soul, making it sound classy, noble :).
    lovely writing!

  10. The number of times you think ‘kids these days’ does seem to reflect how far removed you are from youth.
    You did a lovely job with the flow and wordplay.

  11. When the games are more realistic and fun than life itself, what can the new generation do? When everything is disposable and never fixed, then what should they think? When everything is nanotech and done for them, how will it change? In thirty years the youth will be older and scratching their heads and wondering about the newer, wilder version of a new generation that wonders how the oldsters can’t cope with the speed of things. Of course nobody wants to go back to the good old days of plagues, world wars, and reading hard cover books.


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