The things we pass on

It’s all in my hands: Stroud’s back garden in 1990.

I stand there with plump legs on the patio warmed

by a low sun tracing my side, all of four buttons on a

blue checked shirt done up, arms half raised with fingers

like I’m playing piano. I follow the close voice

of my mother with a squinted smile


kneeling behind the camera. I see her, younger

than I am now ready to push a button to hold this in

permanence, a record of early greatness.

I feel the colour – touch hair & grass & the brick of distant homes –

It’s the moment I want, the glossy proof of it, evidence

of a shared past that saturates my present thoughts &

moves me to consecrate three decades on. I turn it over


to the neat curves of my mother’s handwriting:

Sam at 1 ¼ penned in the top-left corner, turn it over again


thick with summer, already raising me up in its image.

see the big red pedal car behind me, behind that the Cotswolds

I have the look of a child that knows it’s loved, as I know


I’ll return to this scene father to a younger self,

reminded of his blessings.