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Seven years old

Sometimes when she screams
The violence of her emotions
Is only matched by mine
In a growing tide of anger that threatens to overwhelm us both,
Drowning us in this relationship
Where too close really IS too close,
Where we really shouldn’t be doing these things to each other.

Perhaps our love would be easier if we were more distant,
Perhaps we should handle with tongs, delicately,
All those deep feelings that we arouse in each other,
Perhaps we should try – just try –
To love each other a little less.

Would that work ? I imagine a colder me,
Someone who never needs to shout,
Who gives distant little cuddles,
Who’s reasonable and calm and never loses his cool.

But then I imagine the tragedy I’d see in her eyes
And I realise that being close has its price,
And that paying that price is what I’m doing.

Oct. 2001

We can have a very intense emotional relationship with a child but it’s better than being cold and distant.


Here’s a lovely poem by Jim Bouder about the emotional intensity of bringing up a child – My Autistic Son. A lovely line in there – ‘… autistic shackles bind his speech …’


And here’s another poem, by Sharon Olds, called The Clasp

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