She bleated like a lamb when I first brought her home,
She perplexed all my instincts, not two days old.
"Da-da-da", she would coo, so achingly sweet,
The screaming and wailing she saved for me.
She scared me a little, so forthright and bold -
A fledgling Joan of Arc, at three years old.
Her furious flames licked around my chagrin,
A glower, a jam-bobbed, mutinous chin.
I denied her chocolate, she must've been four,
Found keys down the toilet, milk poured in the drawer.
Refused her a cat, she must've been five,
So she squeezed the goldfish 'til barely alive.
I said no to a hamster, she must've been six,
The snails paid dearly, speared on sticks.
My threadbare nerves jangled in tune
As she ranted at loosing her birthday balloon.
"Buy me a laptop!" was her daily endeavour,
"I'll pay you back when I am clever."
"A quiet matriarch", the teacher described her one day,
"Boadicea", I corrected as I shuffled away.
But she wouldn't break me, of that I was certain,
I would not fail her, as I binned the ripped curtain.
Then, one morning she must've been eight,
Like an Exocet, scorched through the back yard gate,
I braced myself, fast, locked on as her target,
Clutching her picture inside my gold locket.
Then she smiled at me...
A smile so bright, the sunshine paled in its beautiful light,
"I love you", she said as she blazed on by,
That's the first time she ever made me cry.
Donna Hill's prize winning poem, republished.
A. T. Page Aaminah Adam Sedgwick Barnard Al Daffern Alfred A. Cole Alfred Moss Alicia Stawicki Alison R Reed Andrew Clayton Andrew Simon Angela Garratt Annie Colenso Symons Anonymous Anzel Mahmood Arthur Brockhurst Arthur Cyril Harrison Bryan Griffin Carolyn Bayliss Catherine Gorvin Catherine Wilson Christine Beebee Clifton L Pinnock Daisy Daniel J Robertson David Calcutt Dee Howell Dennis Wright Dolores Grant Dom Donna Hill Dorothy Pattison Edward F. Joyce Elaine Taylor Elijah Stanley Elisha Slater Emily Lea Ermine Campbell Francesca Jackson Francis Paul Palmer Frank George Layton Frederic W. Willmore George Cotterell George Evans Gloria Reid Harold M. Barrows Harold Parry Herbert Bennett Hubert Deacon Harrison Ian Henery James A. Aldis Jennifer Beth Blake Jessie Lee Shannon Joan Warner Joanne Kendrick Joanne Shaw John Kilbourn John MacMillan Joseph Dixon Josey Durrant Josiah Turner Karoline Bobrowski Katie Hughes Leandra Gebrakedan M P Houslin Madeline Hindsley Manolita Margaret Lampitt Mark Bassett Martin Hughes Mary Darwall Matilda Cotterell Matthew Wells Maurice Birch Mercedes Michael Cronogue Mr Aitch Natalie Ivanova Neth Brown Oscar Roszczenko Otis Francis Paul Christopher Walton Paulina Kisiecka Peace the Poet Peter Wilkes R. M. Lockley Richard Archer Richard Leigh Richard Worrall Rio Lecointe Rob Edwards. Robert Curtis Robert Wlodarz Sharon Harlow Sir Henry John Newbolt Skiz1 Stuart Williams Supa MC Terence John Mills The Rev. A. Hampden Lee The Rev. Alexander Gordon The Rev. John H. Robison W. H. Robinson Yasmin Fatima Zebideejones