A Prose Poem in Three Parts
I love the way you tower over me.
The Caterpillar, Alice’s advisor,
Declared that his own height was bloody perfect.
And so’s my five foot null: and yet I love
To feel – enveloped in your limbs, or ambling
By you, in your morning shadow –
I love the way you make my knees go weak
And knock the breath out of my lips, my lungs.
Strong are my knees from near a decade’s running.
Quiet and strong my lungs are when alone
With nonchalance I overtake male runners.
Yet when you do but look at me I’m –
I love the way you make me feel so young.
You fetch me here and now, then let me float
Alongside you, participant and tourist
Of life. I’ve cloistered, disciplined myself
Collecting knowledge and becoming wise.
And yet with you I am, and gladly –
And small and weak and young and suchlike things
I have been striving struggling not to be.
I thought I had to fix myself to earn
My own respect. Dissatisfied belabour
Myself. A thrill there is, battling through life
Alone against the world. Adrenalined:
The star of my first-person shooter game.
Now you begin to make me think I’m fine!
And I’m afraid: for self-improvement is
A worthy goal surely? Now I begin
To make you quite content with being plain.
And it occurs to you this sea-change ought
To terrify you, make you flee – and yet You’re fine.
They say that love is simply egotism.
An adoration of that, in another,
Which in ourselves we deem exceptional.
True: you and I are similar. You too
Would call yourself and small and weak and young.
But having loathed, so long, these in yourself
It never occurred to you to loathe me for them.
No: egotists we were before we fell:
Accepting others weak and small and young,
For othersnever meant enough to loathe:
But setting for ourselves exceptional goals
And ourselves failing, ourselves loathing. But.
But now – still small and weak and young – But now
Together – Now we are both special, and
To ourselves exceptional
Child Vs. Adult
The child lay on the sand. Eyes closed. Ears full of the waves’ lullaby. Dozing.
“Let’s go!” said the parents. “We have lots of fun planned!”
“More plans?” groaned the child. “Even on my holiday? I just want to be here.”
“D’you know how much we paid for this trip? How hard we worked to get time off our jobs?”
The child inhaled one last lungful of eternity. Then he rose and followed his parents back into the rat-race.
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