Poem for My Daughter
on her 12th birthday

I can’t write poetry. But if you think something, you can write it down, and so long as it isn’t in normal sentences & paragraphs, and it makes even a tiny amount of sense, I reckon you can probably call it a poem. I was inspired this week because my eldest daughter turned 12 and I wanted to say how powerfully I felt about her and her life to come, and that she shouldn’t stress about it. So this is what I typed and printed out, and left on her bedside table in a pretty envelope.


Now you are in your thirteenth year,

Your life before you like a picnic rug

Or roaring ocean; so much

That is to happen not yet known.

All you have is jokey wording on a mug,

Your friends, much love, one tidy bedroom

And a mobile phone.

How to attack this world without a soldier’s gun,

An army or a drone?

How defend without a trench, or engineers,

A shield or radar that can stun?


Girl ― you have one other thing as well,

Which you will have seen in galleries

As spotlights fled a glass

Or in a hallway,

Shaking off the rain;

Or on the surface of that Devon river

Where you sought a fish,

Or in a window pane.

You will have seen yourself reflected back,

More important than you feel,

An outline giving colour to your black.

Yourself is what you have, my love,

And though it does not seem like much

Yourself will be a thousand armies

Tender to the touch.

Life lies spread ahead of you:

Have fun, seize love and do not worry much.

What you are already is what you will become.




The link to me reading this poem is here



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