I'm eight years old and breathless
from running home from school.
My mother's slicing apples in the kitchen.
I pull a poem from my bag, ink barely dry.
She goes on peeling apples. I wait.
She takes her time.
So what's this bloody waste of paper?
She's standing up - a rise in pitch -
rips the page edge to edge, showers
scraps in the bin. A leather belt
hangs loose behind the kitchen door.
My mother reaches for the hook.
Who, she asks, do you think you are?
Lily and I stroll beside the Thames.
There's river traffic: buskers, large squirrels
riding bicycles, people painted silver
who don't move until they wink. I say, Lily,
that one in the bowler hat's been still
for ages. He's a 'real' statue, not a person.
Lily nods. And then the statue-person
removes his hat and bows.
I say I'm often in this part of London;
there's a poetry library... Lily's lovely brown eyes
widen. She says Oh, Granny, can I go there?
I really want to go there.
Lily Rose, who's six, lies all afternoon
on a comfy cushion, reading books.
Back home, we sit at the kitchen table,
write a poem. First Lily's line, then mine.
was born in New Zealand, but after graduating with an M.A. in English literature, she emigrated to England (travelling on a cargo ship as the wife of the ship's doctor). After a spell in London, she settled in Cambridge, UK where she now lives in a house with a large garden, often visited by six lively grandchildren. She runs or hosts several groups for the reading and writing of poetry and spends much of the day writing, to compensate for being a late starter as a poet (when close to retirement as an education administrator). Many of her poems have been published in journals, anthologies and online.