Category Archives: poems of childhood

Visiting shame

Here, on a morning in late summer the sun burns off the early mist. Faintly, I see the dew vaporising rising against the light. This morning something is shrunken in me. I feel caught within, bound down, ashamed. Sandbach School, … Continue reading

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In a garden in Amsterdam

Here in this garden in Amsterdam the grass has been grown in four strips, and single wildflowers emerge at intervals, splashes of colour amongst the green, a creative statement in any language. Here in this garden in Amsterdam two children … Continue reading

Posted in may - july 11 collection, poems of childhood | Leave a comment

A father’s prayer

And ah my beautiful children, how much I love you, and how deeply grateful I am to have had this chance to be your father, and to have loved you as I do. And when I go, likely before you, … Continue reading

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Little boy of nine

Little boy of nine, grieving for your father, I know what faces you, but only my love reaches back through the years; I cannot tell you what you must discover for yourself. He is dead, he is dead. It is … Continue reading

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So I never saw his body

So I never saw his body, waxy, white, and still; and I never saw the coffin, heavy wooden box, lifted carefully from the hearse by unknown men in black suits; and I never sat in the utilitarian crematorium chapel, and … Continue reading

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And what happened to you, little boy?

And what happened to you, little boy? And what happened to you, little boy? The last time that I saw you, you were kicking your legs out with joy, in the stackyard, while the geese ran past, and the adults … Continue reading

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The school gate is near enough, thank you

The school gate is near enough, thank you At first you are glad when your mother holds your hand and takes you into the classroom at school; later on, the school gate is near enough, thank you; at eighteen you … Continue reading

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Snared by tradition

Snared by tradition We found the old snares in the barn, thin nooses of twisted wire that slid easily through a loop at the end. We were boys excited by the possibilities of action, and the long tradition of the … Continue reading

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How to hold back, how to let go

How to hold back, how to let go One time, at the farm, we had a craze for building dams; at the farthest point of the bottom pastures, in a little valley, shaded amongst a few trees, we chose the … Continue reading

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we fathers

we fathers we fathers take our sons to the beach on a winters morning in the dark and leave them heading into the crashing waves to ride the surf of excitement all day long we fathers teach our sons to … Continue reading

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Holding on, letting go

Holding on, letting go Sometimes my dad lifts me on to his shoulders, and I ride along, sitting up there. He holds on to my feet, and I hold on to the top of his head, and I get a … Continue reading

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Sometimes it’s very hard

Sometimes it’s very hard There are some hard tasks in life. I know a woman whose husband has died. On New Year’s morning she has to go into her young sons’ bedroom, and tell them. That’s hard. Fresh from the … Continue reading

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Faint shadows of flowers

Faint shadows of flowers In the silence of the dawn, I wake up from my dreaming mind; the candlelight throws faint shadows of flowers on the wall. ah, my dreaming mind, you have been a friend to me, been with … Continue reading

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The freedom in keeping still

The freedom in keeping still The joy of waking up with your child beside you the joy of keeping quiet so they may continue to sleep the perfection of their breathing the perfection of their relaxation the completeness of their … Continue reading

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Lessons from Aylesbury

Lessons from Aylesbury Lesson 1 In my seven-year old mouth, in 1959, in an old fashioned primary school in Aylesbury, there is a lump of gristly meat, part of my school dinner, which I have been chewing forever. I dare … Continue reading

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A map of blunders

A map of blunders It’s hard to remember that I have blundered through my life leaving a wake of destruction spreading out behind me. Nothing too gross, you understand, nothing the police would be interested in. And of course I … Continue reading

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Contemplate the face of love growing old

Perhaps you are fortunate enough to be able to visit your mother, who has become very old, and whom you love deeply. As you stand in the doorway of the room, she looks up to see you, and her face … Continue reading

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It’s a year…

 It’s a year since you died and still you are with me. As your body faded over the months, something else grew clearer: your essence, stripped of its cover, the steady burn of love at the heart of you. Seeing … Continue reading

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