A Happy Childhood

Julia Darling

When I was young I used to open drawers
in College Street; your life was folded there.
I'd reach in with my hungry wanting paws,
take anything I felt inclined to wear.

I knew that yours was mine and that your things
were free. I could take scarves or foxy stoles,
dress up in pointed shoes, your Sunday Best
your veils, your musky scents, your silk and voiles.

That's how you always made me feel inside,
as if each drawer in you was open wide.
Even dreams and thoughts were not denied.
I stole those too. You never seemed to mind.

But now I'm old, I know how much things cost.
I'd give them back, but most of it is lost.

Julia Darling and Jan Johannes

It began with rum and black and spin-the-bottle. We were vandals and kicked the world in the shins. We danced through meadows in flowered smocks. At night we took off the clothes borrowed from Biba (all property is theft) and swam in the river. We mooched, we hitched, we travelled up and down the world.

Julia Darling's lifelong friend, Jan Johannes -
behind Julia in the picture.

A happy childhood is included in Diamond Twig's anthology The Ropes: Poems to hold on to, a collection of poems chosen to appeal to teenagers. You are invited to join Diamond Twig for the launch of The Ropes on Friday 4th April, 4.00 pm - 6.00 pm at Seven Stories, the Centre for Children's Books, in the attic.

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A happy childhood © Julia Darling's family 2005: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet's family: further information about copyright and terms of use on Julia Darling's web site.

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This page last updated 1st March 2008