I think of those we love the most, recall
their playing here four decades apart –
as she and I sit at a picnic table
to finish her ice cream then rehearse
our vaudeville act. ‘I say, I say, I say,’
she declares, with barely a lisp or
hesitation, ‘my dog has no nose!’
‘Your dog has no nose! How does he smell?’ I ask.
‘Terrible!’ she says, and runs to the swings.
She can swing herself now, pushing against
the air, holding the chains just as she should –
as her mother did – beneath this unfinished
curtain wall built from local grit stone.
Determined to be free, she must go ever
higher – because we will catch her or because
the future seems always distant and safe.
I stand behind her – ready to push or catch –
and see the embracing, soothing horizon
of abiding mountains and perpetual sea.
This little one, as yet focussed on each
intensive, encyclopaedic moment,
sees only her splendid new trainers, feels
only the pendulum of blood in her veins.
‘Stop now,’ she calls and, once free, runs across
the putting green to the bouncy castle.