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Sunday 13 January 2013

Growing Up

We ought to get a signal, I said once,
to say we're grown (or growing) up. 
My friends all had their signals:
height, weight, bum-fluff on their chins
(invisible to me),
but these were unreliable.
(I trailed on all of them.)
Then someone quite avuncular explained:
You don't GET signals, silly boy --
you're meant to send them out. 

That very day I visited 
our local sweets and paper shop.
Don't send me "Film Fun" any more,
I told the friendly man.
Please send me "Punch" instead. 
Then later at my recently discovered,
smelly book shop (second hand) I dug a bit
and found the Penguin Classic, "Plato's
Dialogues" by E. V. Rieu and "Microbes 
by the Million". Job Done, 
I thought, I'm home and dry!

(The Rieu translation was in verse -- 
my first encounter with 
what I decided was true adult poetry.
It set me on the road.)

The clincher came a few weeks later, though.
A thick fog - a real London smog. Conductors walked
in front of buses. My mother met me after school...
Oh, the shame of it! My vindication, though:
my mum was lost. I had to take her home.

Written for Start McPherson's prompt at dVerse Poets Poetics


Rachna Chhabria said...

Sweet poem. Like the idea of sending signals out.

Anonymous said...

david, i really enjoy this narrative style, I find it completely engaging. I like how you ponder on'growing up' through signs, or in this case- a 'lack of' or their 'unreliability' even though they are there all along; they are just different for all of us, and i think that this is a great sentiment. V much enjoyed and well written

The Weaver of Grass said...

That was indeed final confirmation Dave that you were helping Mum rather than the other way round!

Claudia said...

haha...you had to take your mom home..so good...smart move sir... and rgd. sending out signals...i enjoy reading children's books and just wondering what kind of signals that sends out..smiles

Brian Miller said...

ha, at least you got to be a bit grown up there in the end and help mom home....we ought get a signal you know...or one we can show to let others know to treat us thus...smiles...

Grace said...

Dave, I like the idea of sending signals to say we're grown, then sending them out ~ Taking your mom home brings a smile to me ~

Mary said...

I like the idea of taking your mum home too. I am reminded of how 'grown up' my grandson feels when he can tell ME which way I should turn when we are enroute somewhere.......

Anonymous said...

Loved this. Really really really enjoyed. The lost mother the clincher. The bumfluff, the aping, and then the trying to be adult in one's own tastes -- so true, and for us, so interestingly British - very lovely. k.

Unknown said...

I like the ending. To me it meant you had to show your mother that you were grown up now or that you were the one in charge. I could see the smog in your words. Nice job!

Dick said...

What a sense of a sort of coming of age at a particular time, Dave! I like the deceptively casual delivery here.

Elephant's Child said...

I loved this. Taking your mother home was a big signal. Sadly, it is too short a road from there to a parent's total dependence - which made me feel old. And yet, like Claudia, I read children books with glee. Where do I fit? I don't know. Do I care? Not a lot.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

(whacks self on forehead)So THAT'S what I was doing wrong - not sending out signals. Too late now, hee hee. I love the child having to lead the mother home in the fog. Towards the end, this happens a lot, hee hee.

Cloudia said...

Though the particulars are, of course very different, I recognize - as in my own memory - the germination that finds it's media in the right book, the right literary style, the right remark from an adult. . . . Nice to know you, D-

Aloha from Honolulu-

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Dave King said...

Thanks Everyone for your kind (as always) and understanding words.
I'm not sure if I would have liked the me in the first part if I could go back to him, but the incident in the smog, I always find pleasing - and I did notice that I got a lot more freedom after it!

A special warm welcome to Gretchen. really good to have your visit.

A Cuban In London said...

Humourous and oh! so true. I, too, sent similar signals! :-) Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I both laughed out loud at the end when I read this one to her. That is surely a sign that we have grown - when our parents need to, and can, ask us for help.