The more I blog, the more I discover how good other blogs are! Couldn't believe my luck to discover Poetry Thursday recently, set up by Liz Elayne and Lynn, and am determined to join in with a poem every week. So here's my first. This is an old one of mine, and won third prize in a Poetry London competition. I wrote it in the British Library when I was researching Freud's theory of family romances, and it resonated with me so much that I had to stop reading and write. I remember really clearly as a kid absolutely knowing that these people pretending to be my mum and dad weren't really, and that any day now my real mum and dad, the prince and princess, were going to drop by and claim me! It was a salutory experience to think that my own daughter was probably doing exactly the same thing - and so this poem came about...
My daughter’s trying on different lives
for size. She tries to catch me out,
snakes her arms around my neck,
pushes herself back into my lap.
Tell me about my real dad, she asks.
This is a game we’ve played before.
I close my eyes. He smells of home,
of ginger biscuits dipped in warm milk,
you know how you sip it to send you to sleep.
Sweet dreams he always said when he kissed me
goodnight. Once we stood under a street light
and he wrapped me in his coat,
buttoned it round the two of us. Sleep tight
I’d tell him. My daughter nods, her head heavy
on my chest, she murmurs an echo of my words
sleep tight, sweet dreams. I watch her go
as her father lifts her off my lap, cradles
her up to bed and I hear her sleepy plea
Tell me about my real mum. Alone, I strain
to catch his words, just out of reach.
And my writing prompt for today is going to be ... the different life I could have had!