For Zoe

Snow falling in flumps
down to make a slushy mud
as rolled in by
the dalmination of pigs
marketable, beef-eating and
shown on Playschool,
and repeated forever,
one yawning stretching week,
between half past three and four.
(That giraffe-necked word
animation, she connects
with 101 Dalmatians,
a hang-dog Disney book
dredged together from the film
and read once when she was two.)
All hail the child genius, says Mum,
struck with awe, but not quite dumb.
Here, would you like to see a photo?
Every wallet a portrait gallery,
the child nestled beside the notable.

When she’s eighteen,
she’ll deny that
flumps ever passed her lips,
those cubes of whiteness,
borne from experiment,
flavouring my day.
An only child learns fast,
melts into cultured age
and books, the favoured flavour
of literacy.
Her ecstasy at reading now hints
that flumps’ days are numbered.
Expelliarmus, flumps!
She’ll wave her wand of bigger words,
casting new spells.
Not yet, please, not yet.
Bide a little longer,
stay home from school,
and we’ll be two flumps on the couch
between half past three and four.

PS Cottier

My daughter graduated from primary school last week, so I dug out this poem written when she was just starting school, which was published in my first book, The Glass Violin. Now for a list of cliches:

They grow up so fast
Blink and they’ll be gone
No, that’s not your little baby is it

All so true, and all so tedious. (Note that I am being tough here; back to the safer realm of the satiric after a very rare leap into family matters.)

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