I dropped the NaPoWriMo ball a week or so ago…life stress shut me down too much to even churn out some doggerel.
But today I return, with a special piece.
Tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli: that classic tale of a military fuck-up resulting in the loss of so many mothers’ sons. Tomorrow is also the day my own son turns 18, and becomes, legally, a man. I am acutely aware that many of those lost at Gallipoli, and all other battles since recorded time began, did not live to be 18. If this was 1917, I may well have lost my son on some far-distant bloody, battlefield, before he got to this age.
This poem is for my son, but it is dedicated to all the mothers who have had to bury a child. I wrap my arms around you all.
FOR OWEN ON HIS 18TH BIRTHDAY
World, I give you this man, fully-formed over 18 years.
I give you a mind sharp and curious and flexible.
I give you an innovator;an entrepreneur; a thinker.
I give you a man compassionate, empathetic and kind.
I give you someone capable of doing great things: of making big changes.
I give you a creative, eccentric individual.
Take him, world and appreciate his strong and beautiful soul.
Make the most of all he has to offer.
Be gentle with him. Teach him no more hard lessons, but nudge him tenderly into the light.
Embrace all that he has to contribute, and give him joyous gifts in return.
Take his hand and walk with him through the years.
But just for today,
this one last time,
please let him take MY hand, and toddle beside me across the road, with sticky fingers and a mucky mouth, looking up at me for protection.
Just once more.
For auld lang syne.