Once upon a time there were six little girls
(all my stories start that way)
and we all lived happily giggling and squabbling
and jumping and wriggling
and running wild and running free
or hiding away in a hedge or a tree.
And our Daddy David was a country vicar
and he always said “Be kind”
and he was kind, he was always kind.
Now from the grave our dear dead Daddy
still reminds us to be kind
and we try, we do our best, we try.
As for mother Celia, every day
she pushed us out the door and whispered
“Go on! Have an adventure! Go!”
and decades dead she still says that
and we obey, it’s easy, it’s OK.
Six old women on the same seesaw
have a primer for life with just two rules
one to be and one to do
and when things start getting out of whack
the sing-song say-so of our parents
can ease us up or down or back.
I need my mother, I need my father
I am my mother, I am my father now.
Listen to the poem being read aloud
Parental guidance continues even after the parents are dead! My 5 sisters and I were lucky in our parents, very lucky. Their voices in our heads don’t contradict each other, but are so different that we have had plenty of wriggle room to be ourselves. This poem is the title poem of a beautiful little chapbook that also has photographs of our family of six little girls.
Image and poem and voice by Rachel McAlpine, CC BY 2.0: that means feel free to share them, but always attribute them to me. Thanks!