I'm not quite sure that this poem is the finished article, but I wish to share it anyway, as a poem note (thank you Liz for introducing this idea to me) because I feel really attached to that 5 year old me in this moment. Spending time with my young nieces has bought back the amazing memories of being small. I encountered a lot of negative experiences in my childhood, meaning I often forget that there were quite lovely thoughts and moments too, which I must hold on to.
Messages from a five year old. A poem note.
When I was five...
I discovered a forsythia den,
A glowing fortress.
Her twisty arms wove a maze of patterns.
Streaky light danced on my face,
Making me giggle,
As I crouched on the rich, earthy ground.
I yearned for white frilly socks of softest cotton,
That the other girls wore.
Their dainty edges were butterfly wings,
Fluttering with every jump of the skipping rope.
Instead I wore blue socks.
The adventuring type.
I pointed my nose as far as it would reach
To peak over the post office counter.
Stacks upon stacks of sweets a glorious wall.
With every breath an ancient musty smell
Of rustling letters and sprawling ink encircled me,
The soft thud of stamping an accompanying lullaby.
I smiled with a shrug at the English language,
Imagining myself an alien
But in many hues of pink rather than green,
Landing far away from Germany.
I conversed with gatherings of dolls,
Discussing my days as I held court.
My imaginary crown gave me voice.
Animal hearts began to beat
As soon as the light switch clicked.
With abandon I joined their secret invitations.
I lost myself in Grimm’s tales.
A story collector of great importance,
I drank in illustrated pages over and over,
My fingers tracing letter shapes in meditation.
And tapes with turn the page beeps
Unfolded scenes by the dozen in my soul.
I believed that a sweet toy tortoise,
Left on a train many miles away,
Could navigate her way to a healing aunt,
Who appeared one day
With the returned wanderer Mimi;
Somewhat larger and with both eyes in tact.
I was an artist with pens defined by fruity scents
And a bouquet of coloured pencils
Kept in the strictest rainbow order.
The best rubbers were in the shape of elephants.
The straight line of a ruler unheard of.
Blank surfaces shouted my name.
I loved that dog in the swirling snow,
Who stole my knitted gloves from my pockets
And spun in circles in pursuit of his tail;
Soft ears flapping wildly, lucid eyes alight.
Together we stuck out our tongues
To capture orbs of ice.
I idolised the gods and goddesses,
Who made life shine with their presence,
Smelling of strong coffee and exercise books.
They gave ME time.
I’d watch them intently
And decide who I would have for parents.
I wished for a best friend
With the shy passion of an introvert.
The thought of it all deliciously foreign.
Along the edge of the playground I stood,
On the lookout for that golden flicker
Of feeling known.
I treasured small objects,
Seeing them in minute detail.
When told to dispose of such rubbish
I gently tucked my findings into new hiding places.
Sometimes I carried a stone with me for days
Just because it was my stone.
I feasted on pasta in the shape of cartoon characters,
In gloriously red tomato sauce.
Carmel puddings and slices of ham
Glanced back at me with grinning faces.
But necklaces made of sugared beads?
No,I couldn’t destroy their beauty.