What could be more hygge that cuddling up with small children, especially grandchildren? All of the pleasure and none of the work, plus all the happy memories of being a parent, relived. And the love children offer is so unconditional. Photo by Ken Patterson and sent to me by Colin Will.
Some kind of delay before take-off,
an under-estimate of landing rigmaroles,
passport control – the barriers politicians
put between people – baggage reclaim
and the obligatory airside toiletings,
mean we’re far too early for the family.
I’m wondering, since it’s a couple of years
between visits, how much the children
have changed, how they’ll react.
And then they come through,
son pushing overloaded trolley,
daughter-in-law smiling, grandson shy.
But my granddaughter sees us, shouts
and starts to run. She leaps into my arms
snuggles her head into my neck,
breathes against me. As I turn her
to and fro I see smiles and moist eyes
on the faces of bystanders,
little ripples of remembered joys.
First published in Every Day Poems
This door is always open,
no need for keys, or bell.
I untangle my bunny slippers
from where they wait with
the pink-glitter wellies. Squeals
of delight run into the kitchen
to hug my knees. Then a cuppa
and ginger biscuit from the shelf
set aside for my special treats.
Chubby bodies clamber to my lap
demand silly stories, tickles and
disco dancing. Other folk might
want candles, log fires and soft rugs.
Cuddles with these wee astronaut-
mermaids are enough for me.
MY GRANDSON WRITES HIS NAME
The first letter he has known for months
in zig-zag lines getting nowhere.
Turned on its side and crayoned blue
he can stretch it out like a river;
or if he changes colour can make
a mountain, some grass, a fire.
Cut back to its simplest form
and laid out in rows like ghosts,
he follows the dots over and over
before he does it on his own.
When he learns its sound is a buzz
he likes, he hears it and sees it again
in the stripes of zebra,
in the bars of a place called zoo.
He has five shapes to master.
They stand above or hang below
a line that’s always there –
even if you think it’s vanished.
But when it all comes together
in a final downward stroke
– staunch and straight as he will be –
it tells him who he is,
this name he has always heard
ever since he’s been here.
First published in Cortland Review (US)