Parental advisory

Parental advisory – Reading by Bea Lehmann

Caged and contained
for your own sake
as fleshy babes
so easily break…

Your wet lips 
and milk teeth
explore the crunch 
and tang of varnished wood,
your pudgy hands
tug at cot-bars
uncomprehending.

You will learn one day,
disinfected, indoor child, 
to build your own cage
from our neuroses:
our well-intended
inheritance.

And as you pull against
your harness –
obviously toddling
towards oblivion –
remember that pressure
on your tiny chest
as your parents
hold you back.

Don’t run too far
don’t sing too loud
do not show off
do not stand out.

this is to keep you safe.

from yourself
and from the wolves. 

And now you’re grown 
(and so are we) 
we see how our love 
has kept you small
and timid 
and procrastinating.

We were young and exiled 
from ourselves then, too.

This; before we knew
you can be wild
you can be you
you will be loved.

And safety is overrated.

© Bea Lehmann 2020


This poem was inspired by the work of Jamie Catto (Insanely Gifted) – whom I thank for challenging me to start this blog. And also from Gary Studley, whose workshop ‘Cusp’ I have been attending and been constantly inspired by. Thank you Gary.

Posted by

Artist, poet, druid, Faversham-dweller.

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