You called; it was from somewhere far away.
You called to say hello in your sweet way.
Not so much with news but how you’re feeling;
our talk was so much more than just appealing.

You called to say your Dad was making tea;
that, whilst you wait, you’d make a call to me.
An inner smile grew as I listened on
to the silences between the song

that comes from somewhere in your life, so full
of energy and zest, that you just pull
…me with you and, yet, wherever you go
metaphysically, little you know

how much it is you say to me, not talking
of all of your imaginings, while walking,
or perhaps you’re standing, hearing me,
whilst you contemplate what is for tea.

Whatever it may be that you are thinking
I know you’d love to talk and, in a blinking,
you will, and I’ll be thinking: are we blessed
or will we ask, politely, for you to rest?

© 2011 John Anstie

[Telephone calls from my granddaughter became quite regular when she was a toddler and, it has to be said, were very welcome and enchanting events. One such call, when she was just two years old, prompted this poem.

It addresses that stage in a toddler’s life when they are, very consciously, striving to communicate with their adult family, but cannot find the words. So I, on picking up the call, found myself (like a typical stupid adult) doing too much talking, trying to encourage her to say more. What comes back the other way, probably not surprisingly, having been patronised by grandpa, is mostly silence accompanied by (and this is the truly enchanting bit) mutterings, sing-song tones and breathing, which only fuel my imaginings of what it is she is trying to say.

Our desire to help them talk can, of course, be dimmed once their new-found ability to talk leads to incessant nattering, which drives us in search of refuge! 

But they will always remain an enchantment on our lives and a potential for renewal of our own childhood hopes and dreams].

– John Anstie

© 2016, poem, John Anstie, All rights reserved

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