Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Skimming Stones

Surely only a handful of summers have passed,
Since I jumped the white chalked squares
On the shiny black slugs of melting tarmac?
Long halcyon days filled with playgrounds and parks,
In which hung a shimmering heat-haze
Which levitated above the hot grainy concrete.
Holidays of sipping iced-lemonade, my skin tinged pink
From the rays which danced in the palest of blues.
Surely only a small bouquet of nights have passed,
Each nocturnal hour filled with scents of blossom,
Since I read of the Famous Five by the landing’s pale glow.

And now my reflection is patterned with lines of middle age.
How did I sink like a painted pebble into these murky depths?
Did I skim that stone before it sank?
Polish it against my hip before hurling it
Seawards, to bounce and pirouette upon the surface?
And why does my mother’s face look back from the mirror?
Is it a trick of the light? Her tired eyes, her lips,
Puckered with a life of conversation.
A private prank played on me by shadows, as
The poised pencil which draws the circle of life,
Rises, tick by slow tock, to meet its starting point.

Yes I’ve skimmed the stone countless times,
And lived, and loved, and laughed.
I’ve born three babies and watched them grow
And skip the hopscotch squares themselves.
I’ve walked on Arabian sand, smiled at Amalfi’s coast,
I’ve prayed in Rome and sailed Californian seas.
Imagined friends lie inside the folios of my novel
Written in captured moments from the hullaballoo,
The hubbub and the topsy-turvy of life’s pages.
Yes, my lines of age tell of a life well-lived.
Happy in my skin, I’ve earned my stripes.

Angela Barton


  1. That's such a lovely evocation of summer childhood and the pasing of years, Angela.

  2. Thank you Rosemary. Time does fly doesn't it? xx

  3. As usual, you are a charmer Keith. Thank you so much!