A warm summer’s evening,
the kind of day when
bedtime forgets it’s name and
little ones refuse to tell.

You wore a denim shirt
tucked in, but not quite,
to your trendy knee length shorts
like a cool teenager.
You were chasing a balloon
with your big brother.

When did you stop being a baby?

Was it one night last week
while you were sleeping?
A mysterious unfolding,
a sudden beating of wings,
a flying off into the unknown,
into the boundless landscape of
your very own pure and precious ife.


Sunday mornings

Chapel was compulsory
in our household
unless you were nearly dead
which was how I often felt
after Saturday night
at the youth club
or to be more precise
The Red Lion Pub.

If you don’t come then
you’ll peel all the vegetables
for dinner
difficult choice.

God didn’t approve of jeans either
unless you were catholic,
then he didn’t mind one way or another.
But we were Methodist to the core;
a weekly dose of pleated obedience –
below the knee.

Arrows of hell fire and damnation
fired from the pulpit
aimed solely at me
because I was the one
who didn’t want to be there
and God knew it;
I was marked down in his
little book of badness every week.

But even if God hated me
attendance was rewarded;
one more reprieve
for that day at least
from the ever increasing
slipperiness of the slope
I was now on, heading toward
parental shaking of heads
and the shameful label of
“bitter disappointment”
which was the last thing in the world
I would ever want to be
because that would mean
I had failed.


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