I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

12 September 2009

Birthday Greeting Poems

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 11
(After a discussion of the awfulness of flowery greeting-card verses) write or rewrite a greeting card poem so that it has meaning to you, or at least is funny.


It just happens that there are two important birthdays in my life today - my Firstborn Son's 42nd, and my Third GodDaughter's 18th. So here are the poems: both meaningful, one (mostly) funny.


Happy Birthday To A Wonderful Son

Thank you for being a wonderful son.
Thank you for not exploding yourself
that time you put a match
to the not-quite-empty petrol barrel –
but merely singeing your eyelashes off.
They and the missing patches of hair grew back.

I can still see your tiny naked feet
running happily across the lounge-room carpet
leaving footprints of brown fence paint.
You were delighted that you’d been smart
and taken off all your clothes before
you decorated your whole body. So was I.

You always had such a kind heart.
When you were only a few years older,
your father’s workmate Ron was truly amazed
to see his brand-new car, parked in our driveway,
improved by a free paint job – the brown again.
(Of course, you did have some help from other kids.)

At only 11 you found true love
and for years afterwards stayed in your room
playing with your instrument: your first computer.
As those years passed, your father and I
began to wonder if you’d still be there at 50.
But then at last you discovered girls.

Along the way you made luscious Pavlovas,
gave me helpful hints on my driving skills
and refrained from killing your little brother.
You were still a toddler when you begged
from the back seat of the car, “Mummy and Daddy,
please don’t sing.”  No doubt it was good advice.

We’ve had great talks at times. You’ve always been
wise, thoughtful and understanding. I like that you like
writers whom I like too and share my taste in theatre.
I like that you're now telling me which books are good
and which new shows. And even your furious corrections
when I forward the nuttier emails that go the rounds.

And it’s very sweet of you not to publish too many
of the poems and stories you write. It would never do
to show up the lesser talents of your mother, or my lesser
self-critical faculties…. Finally, I can’t believe you’re 42!
Or ourselves already so Senior. I’m sure you’ll be pleased
to know we’ve decided to move in with you next week.


Happy 18th Birthday!
(To my GodDaughter M)

When you were a baby
you crawled downstairs
headfirst, smiling.
You still plunge boldly.

When the young babysitter
couldn’t calm you,
sometimes I could.
I was more familiar, perhaps.

Now you surprise me with love
just because I’m your Godmother.
And you don’t treat me
like an old lady.

I have forgiven you
for throwing things at my cat.
You were only a toddler.
(Mind you, it took a while.)

We read each other’s
journals and blogs.
What we find there
stays between us.

You like to write, like me.
You like to sing; I’d like
to have a voice for singing.
We rib each other and laugh.

Today you’re 18, old enough
to toss down a legal Jack Daniels
and have consensual sex –
if you could figure out who with.

You’re old enough to vote
and drive a car. The time
is now. What was it you wanted
to be when you grew up?

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