7 October 2013
Once upon a time in a faraway place
when time stretched as far as the eye could see
and the sun yellowed each moment of a waking day
and sorrows were the size of a dead pet mouse;
where everything was shared from pants to pinnies
and even little sins were hers and hers —
in that upland of the past
where we were playmates.
Thick as thieves, two acorns on a twig, peas in one pod,
every moment shared, hand in hand we ran
through the wood, down the lawn to the swing
and to those stinking secret places both were scared of.
The well, in the greenhouse full of shards,
the bottled filthy brown creature: mollusc, fish or insect.
Multi-legged and fearful.
(Brushing Aunt Alice’s hair, every night, for hours – did she say?
And spillikins on the carpet, with tiny rake and kettle – did she tell you?
Called The Babies until we were quite big – did she ever say?)
If you seek her face
look in every picture Astrid painted of a child, cherub or dreamer.
If you miss her voice harken to her children.
If you want a glimpse into her childhood ask me
for no-one knew her, loved her, cherished her more than I —
and my playmate, of long, long ago
knew, loved and cherished me.
October 4th 2013