First Lesson

First Lesson by Philip Booth

Lie back daughter,

let your head be tipped back in the cup of my hand.

Gently, and I will hold you.

Spread your arms wide, lie out on the stream and look high at the gulls.

A dead- man’s float is face down.

You will dive and swim soon enough where this tidewater ebbs to the sea.

Daughter, believe me,

when you tire on the long thrash to your island,

lie up, and survive.

As you float now, where I held you and let go,

remember when fear cramps your heart what I told you:

lie gently and wide to the light-year stars,

lie back,

and the sea will hold you.


This sheltering midnight…

"Sleep, and I’ll be still as another sleeper
Holding you in my arms,
Glad that you lie so still at last.

This sheltering midnight is our meeting place.
No passion or despair or hope divide me from your side.
I will remember firelight on your sleeping face.
I will remember shadows growing deeper
As the fire fell to ashes
And the minutes passed."


We’ve been back in time together, you and I.