childhood

Trying to make sense of a world
where things changed, and so
did places and people; new homes
and different emotions and responses,

unexpected, unexplained, and where
the child was often mother, caring
for the mother, and the children,
separated from the games and the

opportunity for playing; held in
realms of imagination as she washed,
scrubbed, polished, cooked and
tended to younger siblings, only

rarely, realising the sun shone on
bare skin and the clouds shook
themselves against glorious blue,
folding in and around with a soft

caress, and tender gathering, like
the blossoms on the fruit trees in
Spring, and the golden shudder
of leaves falling in Autumn, and

all of it compressed into tight,
cold Winters, huddled next to an
open fire, knowing the worn lino
would be freezing to bare feet,

each morning, and the gas
shower would explode in rage
when lit, thundering into being
like so many others in that world

of the child, in that place where
laughter could catapult through
tender bellies, and smiles draw
wide enough to let in hope, and

allow forgetting, even as raw
chillblains throbbed on the long
walk to school, and dreams kept
step to hold the days in place,

to stitch with steady thread, the
liquid, crystal song of magpies,
and the redolent perfume of
eucalypt: memory embroidered.

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About rosross

Editor, writer, poet.
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