Poem: “Too Young”

Too Young


Too young to be over DC Jail

But you can’t be afraid

So to stay out of trouble you watch TV and play spades

You try to be cool and protect your space

Because you don’t want to get in a fight and get maced

Too young to smoke

But you are never too young to hope


  1. j on October 22, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    Wow! These last two lines really get to me. This whole poem helps me understand better what it must be like to be a juvenile at DC Jail- thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Andrea on October 25, 2010 at 12:13 AM

    I can hear how you’re playing with your rhythms in this piece. I also enjoy how you’ve begun to bring some of what events make up a “day” for the narrator in this piece, bringing in the spades was surprising. Word choices like that begin to resonate for a reader. The TV watching would be expected, the trying to be cool & protecting one’s space would be expected, but playing spades isn’t. Also, the word choice of spades resonates with issues of race as well as card-playing to chase away boredom. It made this reader wonder if hearts would ever / could ever be played.

    The slant rhyme between smoke / hope was also very interesting. I actually enjoyed those sounds more than space / maced. However, the assonance of the long a sounds in afraid / spade / space / mace was actually more effective for me than the rhymes themselves. Those long a sounds added a particular voice to the piece for me.

    For the next draft, consider working on the images, extending some of the shorter lines. Bringing in action, like the card playing, which to the writer could seem a boring activity, is actually a pleasurable aspect of reading. Many readers would not have the experience of what you, the writer, finds ordinary. That’s why people read. They want to jump out of their lives & experience another’s. Another thing you might want to consider in your next draft is moving to two rhyming words in a single line, but leaving the ends unrhymed; or rhyme just lines 1, 4 & 7, then 2&5, 3&6.

    best wishes,

  3. Ali on November 7, 2010 at 9:54 PM

    The last line is amazing. Hope is such a strong word, action, thought…etc. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

  4. Krystal on December 3, 2010 at 11:24 PM

    Your words resonate like an old soul. I like the rhythm and tone – and the impact of your conclusion.

  5. Na'Yonna on April 13, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    This poem will open up many youths eyes to see other things they could do instead of getting in trouble!

  6. Dvaughn on April 13, 2011 at 10:42 AM


  7. kassidilenae on November 17, 2020 at 2:57 PM

    Thank you for sharing this! I can tell you are wise, and I hope you continue to cling to hope no matter your circumstances. As you grow older, fight to do what is right even when what is wrong is much more tempting. Keep writing!


  8. Samantha on January 30, 2021 at 9:24 PM

    “You are never too young to hope”, man, that was AMAZING! It’s so true, you are NEVER too young to hope. Keep pushing through, and doing what you can to get by! I love that poetry has become part of an activity that you can do as well. I love this for you!

  9. Martina on March 1, 2021 at 3:03 PM

    What an impactful poem. It is so true that we can never be too young to hope, you have such strength and I see a bright future for you.

  10. Maxine Cassell on August 21, 2021 at 2:40 PM

    Dear Poet,

    I really liked the rhyming that you incorporated into your poem. I also loved how your poem flowed, it was quick, smart, and powerful. The last sentence, “But you are never to young to hope” is very moving. Hope can be easily lost but you poem reinforces the message to keep hoping. Keep up the great writing.

  11. Jalen Walker on November 16, 2021 at 12:14 AM

    Amazing poem as you are never to young to hope this poem could open up alot of eyes of youth is this day in age as many younger adults are getting in trouble

  12. Jaxson Pawlowski on October 9, 2022 at 4:12 PM

    You are right, never too young to hope. This is a great message to write about because it can help those who think it’s too late! I’m glad you are keeping out of trouble and writing! You have such a unique experience that others may not and will find interesting to read! Wish you the best!


  13. aaliyah on December 11, 2022 at 10:27 PM

    Dear author, I just wanted to start off by saying how great your poem was, and the message you sent us with the last line was very motivational. Throughout the poem I noticed you end each line with a rhyme and with each rhyme the story continuous. The story you’ve written I’m assuming is what you would do on daily bases as your time passes behind you. It’s a very interesting story to read about, and somethings you do seem like there necessary like trying to be cool and protecting your space and things in your space. Playing spades and watching tv does sound like a good way to wind down and stay out of trouble like you said and sounds like a good time to clear your mind for the day to keep up that persistent mind set. With a strong mindset as your own you’ll time will fly by. Thank you so much for sharing this poem.
    I wish you the best!- Aaliyah

  14. Colleen on April 13, 2023 at 12:54 PM

    I really like the message to this poem. If I were to make an inference, you went to jail when you were “too young.” I like how you said all these things that you are actually too young for, but then you end it on a powerful “but you are never too young to hope.” Well done.

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The poets featured here are currently incarcerated, and many of them are in federal prisons far from home. Your feedback is a valuable source of motivation and connection to the outside community. Post your comments, feedback, and encouragement in the space below the poem. Messages will be passed on directly to the author. Comments may not appear immediately on the site, as our team processes them to mail to the poets.