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‘It takes a village to raise a child’ YORUBA PROVERB


The rest of us are dressed for January’s

damp chill but she greets us on the driveway in

cool boots, black tights, black skirt, white shirt, and red cloak

Grandma has made for TikTok performances.

She smiles briefly, then gurns. A homemade cake

is brought carefully through the front door,

with candles blazing,  duly blown out.

We sing the song, and mark her eleven years

upon the earth. She is lovely, lithe, and kind.


The cake goes back, returns sliced, on paper plates.

Our gifts are unwrapped in the open boot

of the family car – clothes, books, poem.

We are an innovative species –

and stoical. The very lightest of

drizzles begins to fall.




© Copyright David Selzer
7 Responses
  • Ashen Venema
    February 26, 2021

    A scene that warms the heart!

  • Mark Chapman
    February 26, 2021

    I think that sums up the moment beautifully!

  • Pat Rogerson
    February 26, 2021

    A lovely piece, David. As someone who has celebrated a lockdown birthday I can appreciate the lengths the family goes to in order to make it a special day. Coffee and cake via Zoom was novel!!

  • Alan Horne
    February 27, 2021

    Great title, David! Also really like the ‘cool boots’ line. I hope she had fun on her birthday despite everything.

  • Margaret Stather
    February 27, 2021

    Not having seen her for quite a while it paints a lovely happy picture! Thank you.

  • Tricia Durdey
    March 1, 2021

    Lovely to read this. So evocative. Eleven years already.
    I miss you all.

  • Jeff Teasdale
    March 10, 2021

    Another lovely poem David, reminding us of our own Granddaughters and all those occasions we had hitherto just taken for granted until last year….. However, good memories of resourceful cups of tea and glasses of wine, and quickly eaten casseroles going cold, in garages. It was our daughter’s birthday yesterday…40 odd years gone in a flash and the candles blown out by the gale. We saw a similar exchange of presents between car boots right up at Tegg’s Nose Country Park above Macclesfield (the country’s highest, I am told). We walked past, dressed for the weather, which they weren’t really……Couldn’t help remarking,.. “Well, this is a Birthday party no-one will forget…. Happy Birthday!”. Received with good humour and spinning balloons!

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