Poetry

Tom. Tom, my only Son

By 13th March 2009December 9th, 2019No Comments

I don’t like children,
All those runny noses and smelly bottoms
And constant emotional demands
And loss of freedom
And Thomas the bloody Tank Engine and Winnie the Pooh
Over and Over again ad nauseam
When there were other more important things I need to do
Like wash my hair and save the world

But I had one once with a man I didn’t really love.
I am so glad I did.

My son Tom is a fine young man
And I’m not the only one to say that

My son Tom is a clever young type
And I’m not ashamed to say that

He fills my heart and a part of my life I could never have imagined would have existed.

He is brave, for a fifteen year old boy
I saw him once as a tiny wee thing
Put himself between that huge playground bully and a tiny little child
And I watched his jaw set.

You can’t do that he yelled, its not right
To pick on small children
I’ll get my mum and she’ll shoot you with her gun

And I laughed
A bit extreme chap
But my heart was bursting as I worried for the shape of his nose
In later days when bullies don’t care about mums any more

He held my arm
and I watched him grow at the funeral of the man I love
that I destroyed his young world for

Don’t let me cry Tom, please I have to look strong
So he walked me down the aisle
Squeezing my hand with the strength of a man
Who was determined to get his silly old ma
Through that terrible day.
And told me I was beautiful and that the chap would have been proud of me

We did it Tom, you and me
They admired our courage and your poise

We saluted the flag covered coffin that carried
The body of the only man I ever loved
I caught Tom’s gaze as I stood in front of the church,
Some loving me, some hating
As I read a tribute to the man I love
And tried to change the opinion of people
Who had as much reason to hate me as he did

That steady gaze from his steely blue eyes.
Loving me, wanting me to say those words,
With dignity and bearing
Willing me to be as I wanted. Strong and courageous on
The worst day of my life

And later he said in a brief quiet moment
“He was a good man mum and he loved you.
We could all see that
And I don’t hate him, I never did
I just wish I had understood him like you did”

We both loved Tom although we couldn’t say those words to him
We longed to have children of our own
But that was a stupid dream. We were too old
And it was too late but we would have wanted them to be like him

Strong, brave, witty and charming
Scatter-brained and exasperating
Clever and infuriating
A man when he has to be and a child when he should

MBT, my boy Tom
Is a clever young chap
Sensitive and thoughtful
A proper teenager who sleeps until noon if
He can get away with it
Whose room is a swamp
And who’s handwriting is dreadful
His clothes are a disgrace
And he speaks mostly in grunts
He’s been caught drinking
And he drives me to distraction some days

I am a rubbish Mummy
I am never there when he needs me,
I can’t be bothered to make cakes
And his angel wings fell apart that year
More demon than cherubim

I turned up to sports day, unwashed and smelly,
With dust on my boots
And a t-shirt that read
“Stop Diarrhoea now”
Not a pretty flowery dress with a home-made picnic

But in spite of all that
We love each other
(don’t tell him I said that, it just isn’t cool)
So for him I fight
These terrible days of pain and emptiness
And failure

And he gives me hope for the future
But if its not enough and I fail again
He has to know that it wasn’t his fault

And he has to go on
To be the man that he should be
Never blaming himself,
Never thinking he should have done more
Just being Tom, who’s a bloody good chap

Andrea Mackintosh

Author Andrea Mackintosh

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