Growing up

My fingers and toes have felt their tips, still I grow
by letting go of the memories that framed my childhood
and don’t fit with the reality of my ripened brain.
Now, silent anecdotes smoulder with a bitter-sweetness.

Dare we reminisce and uncover mother was depressed
as she played with us in the bluebell woods,
where her late mother too spent her childhood.
As we swung on the tyres attached to rope
tied bewilderingly high on the old oaks,
the woods consumed her.
And still she pushed and walked us round
as we searched for big foot in the familiar grounds.

It wasn’t mum who dressed us that morning but granddad
who was still bright. How did I overlook her absence?
Love from the living never faltered like the new ropes
that emerged inconceivably each year below the oaks.
Beneath them we played unwittingly.

Did I open Pandora’s box or was it never made to last?
Can I unite growing up with present accounts of past?
I crave the impressions of those memories, but
the more I seek, the more they fade in light of today.
If I don’t leave things as they were in false reality,
I risk rewriting those feelings that shaped most of me.

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This poem explores the paradoxes of nostalgia, memory and growing up. It also touches on the strength of humans who suffer loss and pain, yet strive to protect the innocence of their children with their unending love.