Thursday, 7 June 2018

A Place for Naming


 From 'A Life in Short Pieces.'

This piece was written for and to my late mother who is never far from my thoughts. My relationship with her was part of my understanding of the relationship between Ruth Kelman and her daughter Alice in my forthcoming novel Becoming Alice. This sometimes vexed  relationship between mothers and daughters is also explored in my recent novel The Bad Child.

This piece is about a christening.

Piece No.2. A Place for Naming

The third of four children,
I slipped out – barely noticed
among the dogs of war
and other fine distractions.

In later years I made you tea,
passed hard examinations –
and wrote so many books
just to warm your heart
and catch your eye.  

I think about the family legend –
you were always heroine of your own tales –
 of me in your arms and you walking
to the church in the snow
– his arm around you.

Both waist deep in snow –
visiting church to rid yourself of sin
and to endow me with
a name made up by the man
who loved lost boys.

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