Although I wobbled when Dad’s steady hand
released the saddle’s back, I freewheeled
on downhill into the rush of flying’s thrill.
And teaching me to swim, he held me
by the puppet-strings formed by my costume’s
criss-cross straps; and though I felt him leaving go
I kicked away, trusting my body and the water’s lift.
But now that it’s my turn, my grip is glued,
stiff fingers must be prised back one by one.
I failed to learn the trick of letting go
of stale regrets, false pride, maternal frets,
my looks, ambitions, or my dearest dead.
I’m tethered fast, a sand-bagged air balloon.
Oh, teach me to rise weightless in the blue!
If you have any comments on this poem, Maggie Butt would be pleased
to hear from you.