Leadership Training

Welcome dear, to the asylum
Where the grown-ups are not in control
Mummy’s out chasing a rainbow
Daddy is home but not whole

So what do we do with our brother
Who needs to be petted and fed?
Just sisters supporting each other
When parents don’t get out of bed

If you grab a hold by one ankle
Then I’ll take the other and try
To tease out the worst of the tangle
Then soap, rinse and powder him dry

I’m sorry your tummy is grumbly
There isn’t the money for S’mores
I’ll find what I can if you’re hungry
And we’ll have a picnic indoors

I guess we’re not going out playing
While youngest’s a hole in her shoe
I’ve mended the bits that were fraying
But darning the rubber won’t do

Besides which it’s no longer summer
And coats are too short in the sleeve
So even the common’s a bummer
With chilblains it’s better to leave

The exercise video’s starting
We’ll all sit together to stretch
Now reach for your toes if you’re hurting
And think of the rich and the wretch

If we can just keep it together
As family’s good for the soul
There’s almost no storm we can’t weather
To pursue an impossible goal

So try not to pick up your plimsolls
Don’t want anybody to know
If they catch a glimpse of the cardboard
When walking along in the snow

Then mummy and daddy are over
They’d ship us all out to a home
And though there’d be food there forever
We’re better off here on our own

Eden

The first time we went hungry
Early in the morning
We dared ourselves to do it
Anticipating anger
We crept downstairs
And unlocked the back door
Standing on a chair to reach
Our guilty secret
Forbidden knowledge buzzing
In our childish brains
My sister was always the first to find
Where mum kept the key
Grumbles of rumbling tummies
Drove us over the dew
Chilly on our bare feet
Toward the wall
Where brambles grew
But all we found there to feed on
Were thorns
We searched in the pot
Which in summer held strawberries
Stepping carefully to keep
From squashing the snails
On their slimy journeys
But though the eggy flowers
With their yellow-white faces
Nodded at our eager fingers
Their greeting bore no fruit
Next year, I said to my sister
I shall plant a carrot tree
Planning our menu
We rummaged in the greenhouse
For something to snack on
Old sunflower seeds
Dandelion leaves from the lawn
But the rabbit had been there before us
And climb as we might
Even the sour cherry tree from next-door
Had buried all of its fruit in the ground
Hoping for an early spring
Until our secret garden
Was ashamed to see
Its children shiver
In the empty-bellied dawn