Not Yet My Mother
Yesterday I found a photo
of you at seventeen,
holding a horse and smiling,
not yet my mother.
The tight riding hat hid your hair,
and your legs were still the long shins of a boy's.
You held the horse by the halter,
your hand a fist under its huge jaw.
The blown trees were still in the background
and the sky was grained by the old film stock,
but what caught me was your face,
which was mine.
And I thought, just for a second, that you were me.
But then I saw the woman's jacket,
nipped at the waist, the ballooned jodhpurs,
and of course the date, scratched in the corner.
All of which told me again,
that this was you at seventeen, holding a horse
and smiling, not yet my mother,
although I was clearly already your child.
from The Blue Book (Seren, 2000), copyright © Owen Sheers 2000, used by permission of the author