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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.




© Copyright David Selzer
2 Responses
  • Sarah Selzer
    July 22, 2014

    So evocative as always and even if I hadn’t been there (as the child and the mother!) I can picture it. Perfect that you post these as E finishes her time at pre-school, holidays in North Wales (more Thomas? Definitely more pushes on the Beaumaris swing) and dons her uniform to show them how it’s done 😉 xxx

  • John Chapman
    August 10, 2014

    I think this encapsulates so much of what being a grandparent means. We take, we assist, we gently teach, we intervene when their lack of fear instils fear in us, we act the fool to bring on that magical laughter, we read the stories that will help shape their emotions and then, with a tired sigh, we hand them back. I love it!

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