Julie Sea-Borne p.1


Five Minutes



Scabby knees, softened by pale pink bubbles.
She picks, morbid fascination in every line of her body.
Don’t do that, I say, and in my words hear the echo of my mother,
So many years ago, when I too bore my scabs with pride.
She splashes me, chortling aloud with joy,
And I envy the wonderful spontaneity of a child’s laugh,
Free of constraint, the shackles of respectability.

I lift her from the bath and, swathed in oversized towels,
She shuffles, penguin like, from the room.
Too heavy to carry now, I miss the feel of that small sturdy weight,
Nestled damply against my chest, arms clinging tightly around my neck.
And I marvel at the perfection of her body, shiny with its newness.
Like a computer still on factory settings, untainted and uncorrupted,
By the toxins of a world, gorged on its own excesses.

Her favourite part now, drying by the fire, the flames leap in her eyes,
And we talk, her and I, in this precious time, the hour between work and bed.
Mummy, how are rainbows made, she asks, and I ponder.
It’s a serious question, deserving of a serious reply, and I fumble,
At half remembered science, offering vague theories of light refraction and raindrops,
Until she stops me, her eyes wide with the wisdom of ages.
I expect the unicorns put it there, she says, and I’m silenced, humbled, it is a good answer.

Warmly dressed in pyjamas, I tuck her into her pink bed,
Skin golden in the comforting bloom of the nightlight, eyes already heavy.
I wish she could stay for longer, in this magical world, where Santa will always visit,
Where the existence of unicorns is without doubt, and Teddy can really talk.
The little brown bear is tucked firmly under her chin. He looks at me.
His eyes, dim with cataracts from one too many trips through the wash, seem to twinkle,
As if to say, don’t worry, I’ll take it from here.

Copyright © 2009 Julie Sea-Borne
Bedtime read by Julie Sea-Borne
Five Minutes

I just want five minutes to myself,
Thatʼs really all I ask.
Five minutes to relax,
Or perform some vital task.

Five minutes to have a shower,
To call a neglected friend.
Five minutes to have a coffee,
Or sort out post to send.

I just want five minutes to myself,
Maybe read the paper alone.
Five minutes to sit down,
And sigh at my untidy home.

Five minutes to phone the bank,
But know that if I do.
Sheʼll come, at full gallop, screaming,
‟Mummy, I want a poo!”

And as Iʼm dealing with their enquiries,
To cries of ‟Mummy, come and wipe!”
I raise my eyes to heaven and think,
Oh god, is this really my life?

I just need five minutes to myself,
Quite a reasonable little plea.
I must have five minutes to myself,
To try and remember what itʼs like to be me.

Copyright © 2009 Julie Sea-Borne
Five Minutes read by Julie Sea-Borne

I love words.
Especially those, which sound like the thing theyʼre describing.
Take slug, thatʼs a good one.
Say it, and instantly thereʼs an image,
Of corpulent bodies, glistening with green sweat.
And night time garden raids, leaving hostas in tatters
And snot trails on paths.

Billowy.  Crisp, starched sheets snapping on the line,
Fighting the fumbling advances of an insistent breeze.
Cotton wool clouds, scurrying across a childʼs paint box blue sky.
And yachts, sails braced, riding high to exotic destinations.
Splatter, splash, squish and squelch,
All do exactly as they say on the tin.
As do slippery, slimy, squat and splodge.

Jazz.  Feel it fizz over your tongue,
And youʼre in a smoky underground club, where sophistication is served
With the cocktails and scotch on the rocks.
Words, wonderful, evocative, sensation arousing words.
Words have the power to reel in a memory, a thought, an emotion.
They can elevate and enervate, raising spirits and hopes to new heights.
But, equally, can defeat and destroy, crushing esteem into dusty nothingness.

Careless talk costs lives … and friendships … and marriages.
Stop and think before you say it, should be a compulsory maxim.
Yet we cannot, the words jostle and spill, fighting for life.
Our every sentence courting disaster, misunderstanding and dissent.
But words can also free the oppressed, acknowledge and aid those in need,
And can create images of such beauty, passion and wonder,
They burn, bright as starlight, throughout the centuries.

Words are what have raised man above the apes.
Civilisations foundation, yet, potentially, also the seeds of our own destruction.
Disagreement, contention, ugly words of intolerance, hate and greed,
Thrown like grenades by the leaders of men, to wound, incite and kill.
So others must soothe, pacify, negotiate and reason.
Using words as tools, consummate in their ability to twist and shape,
Words to make war or make peace with.  Ultimately, the choice is ours.

Copyright © 2009 Julie Sea-Borne
Words read by Julie Sea-Borne

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