Tuesday Poem: “We Children” by Janine Sowerby
when the days stretched
over the horizon, sprang
from our sleeping bags, threw
on our summer uniform, left
mum and dad dreaming, ran
barefoot through the bush, the river,
to the beach
popped washed up blue
bottles, chased cantankerous
crabs, rescued stubborn sea
creatures from rock pools, buried
each other below sand castles, built
forts manned by katipos, cooked ourselves
in the sun
got seaweed in our hair, sand
in our bum cracks, stranded
by the tide, wrestled the ball
from everyone’s Dad, rang
rings around them, stained our clothes
green, looked forward to doing it
all again tomorrow
you live over the horizon
and I no longer swim
in the sea
© Janine Sowerby
First published in The Press
Reproduced here with permission.
Note: Katipo(s) are a native NZ spider, often found in driftwood on beaches; they are also NZ's only naturally occurring poisonous spider (we've gained a few imports of recent years.)
About the Poem:
Welcome back to The Tuesday Poem everyone—and if I haven’t said it to you already: Happy New Year!
As we’re ripping back into The Tuesday Poem at the height of summer, I want to focus on some “summer” themed poems—and I don’t think I could start with a better one than Janine Sowerby’s We Children. For me this poem captures the very essence of the essential—and quintessential—Kiwi summer: sun, sea, beach, bach, family and friends.
If it were just that, I still think We Children would be a great summertime poem—but then Janine delivers the killer final stanza that captures so much more: the adult’s regret for summers and childhood past, certainly, but it’s not just a nostalgia poem—it also captures the disconnection that can occur between family members when we grow up and grow apart, or are simply separated by distance; as well as the loss of courage, a sense of possibility, and even of hope that can also sometimes be part of what adulthood brings.
So—a poem of many levels and a great start, I feel, to our Tuesday Poem year. Enjoy!
About the Poet:
Janine Sowerby has, in addition to various competition placings, had poetry and short stories published in New Zealand and overseas, including in Takahe, The Press, Kokako and NZ Poetry Society and other anthologies such as tiny gaps, Before the Sirocco, a taste of nashi, Crest to Crest and A Foreign Country. Janine has also had some of her poetry broadcast on Plains FM 96.9, for the Women on Air programme.
To read the featured poem on the Tuesday Poem Hub—and link to other Tuesday Poets posting around NZ and the world—either click here or on the Quill icon in the sidebar.