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On life being confusing as a child


I see her
being stung by the bumble bee
on the windowsill she
was told not to play with.
Then chicken pox, being sick.
Drinking warm water to fix her tummy –
really mummy?

Shutting the door to her room
to keep the monsters out.
Waking up in the night to find
her parents not about
and the lady next door there instead.
That little boy at nursery
slapping play-dough
over one eye: I’m a pirate!

Scrambling over the wall towards
the field at the bottom of the garden.
In her red shorts,  J’ai pas d’culotte
Led back into the house,
getting dressed not quite mastered yet.

The swings at bluebell time:
a neighbour with long curly hair
and armfuls full of them. Was it legal then?

Louise and her red wellies.
Being allowed in the tractor.
Winnie the Pooh on the radio, sat
at the table near the window
site of that bee attack.

Mousey the pony trotting off
with a shrieking cousin on his back.
First school day, at lunch,
assigned to an older girl:
    Would you like seconds?
I remember
my confused look at the clock.

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Revisiting ‘Switching off the news’

Thank you to BBC News Magazine for a fascinating piece on the volunteer doctors currently saving lives in Greece. See it here.

It reminded me of this, which I wrote in early 2012, in response to the endless news reports about the Greek economy that I kept waking up to (more fool me for my choice of alarm clock radio station).

To be clear (dangerous and difficult where poems are concerned), I am not belittling the situation of those suffering the consequences of austerity in Greece, rather I am raising an eyebrow at the system that makes it so.


Switching off the news*

I don’t know what they’re thinking
when they say that Greece is sinking.
All those commentators complaining
about people who are marching
would do better to check the satellite imaging
to see if it’s still there.

So I don’t know what they’re thinking
when they say that Greece is sinking:
take a flight over Athens at night
and you’ll see its lights a-twinkling.
It is definitely still there.

No I don’t know what they’re thinking
when they say that Greece is sinking;
yes the economy is bleeding
and those on gardening leave, weeding.
But ask any geologist & they’ll tell you
its landmass isn’t going anywhere

*The title is inspired by a Wendy Cope poem called ‘Unbearable or Things that make me switch the radio off’.

And yes, I have now switched station to wake up to.