The Friday Poem on 13/08/21
When the poem ‘Our Children’s Childhoods’ by Charlotte Gann dropped into our inbox we knew immediately we wanted it for The Friday Poem. In just twenty lines Gann addresses friendship, love, parenting, and the difficulty of being truly ‘in the moment’ with each other. At the end of the climb we have a sense of perspective, albeit one that has been hard won. The language is simple, direct and honest, which renders the question that the poem poses all the more stark.
Our Children’s Childhoods
It was a hard, cold, wet slog, that climb.
We were heading away from shelter
talking as we walked, skirting around
our scariest subjects: when we didn’t love
enough, when we loved too much.
Our whole children’s histories stretched out
behind us now. Those years we’d meet
each week to escape and laugh. And now this.
When we got to the top we were at least
rewarded: sun, a rainbow, the huge
vista, a field of mustard, windmill. We sat
and shivered on our wet cagoules on the edge
of everything, drank the beer we’d each
brought with us, ate our cheese and onion crisps.
I cried then, when I said how completely
my son seemed to have left me – and as we
descended our pace quickened; I turned the talk
to Netflix. Did not say, how can we stay
with our discomfort, which is what I really
wanted to ask you, friend, but couldn’t.