To my children on their leaving


I wrote this in 1990 when my children were 19 and 17 and we were living in India and they were studying in Adelaide. There had been many leavings prior but somehow, at this age, there was a sense that they were grown and the leaving was more absolute.

Every time you leave I realise
how much space in me you fill.
I rattle around for a few days,
and then, somehow the emptiness
ceases, filled now with the
memories of you both rather
than the physical ‘now-ness’
of you. It’s always a surprise,
to discover, how much room
you both take up, but then
you have been slowly but surely
excavating a place for yourselves
in my heart, for a very long time-
nearly 20 years. That’s a long
time to work on something, and
you both work well. And even
when you began, you both
knew just where to dig. How
far to go, and when to stop and
rest for awhile. In the process
of course, you have simply
served to make my heart
larger and for that I thank you.
The space inside was so much
smaller before you came along.
Who would have thought
that something so small would
have arrived so well prepared,
for making such a secure place
in this world. For it is secure.
You have helped to make me
what I am and the place you
have dug for yourselves,
in my heart, is always yours.

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About rosross

Editor, writer, poet.
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