I wrote this for my mum on her 80th birthday so it belongs to her. That said I’m sure she won’t mind.
My mum wrote a book about her childhood so that her grand children would realise how different life was when she was young. I found the whole process of editing the book and looking at her pictures incredibly moving and this poem just flowed out.
Copyright Sue Nicholls – no copies please
I am here,
Crossing the time-cusp between my precious daughters and you, my mother,
One day I shall be you,
Once I was them,
Once YOU were them and you were me.
You have filled our lives with your personality,
Your sureness, your sociability and your sun-warmth,
I should not be me, but for you,
I pass you on to my children and they will pass you to theirs.
Your pictures! The limp baby held on the kiss crossed legs of a fuzzy haired sister,
A flossy headed, shy little squirt with back buckled knees,
A skinny, shining girl clutching a silken spaniel and squinting into the sun,
How is that you?
Is that grubby, glowing child still there?
And what of me, when I am sitting there, where you now sit?
Will I have the courage to carry myself proudly, disregarding my discomfort?
Washing it away with whisky, cream and butter,
And planning, always planning for the future.
I aim to follow your example to the letter,
One day, my children will be proud of me as I am of you,
And when they ask me how I came to be thus, I will explain,
Your grandmother, Gemma, taught me.