A poem on the loss of my First Friend and our wild childhood in West London

I have been inspired to write this poem because of two posts on the loss of friends and the importance of making sure in our busy lives that we spend precious times with those we love and care for.  These are Victoria Slotto and A Poetry Pub Post.

It is almost a year that I lost my oldest friend. She was just 60 but we had known one another for almost 56 years. We were neighbours  and friends in our childhood and were neighbours again when my children were young.

In our childhood we were always playing outside and there were many open spaces for us to discover. We grew up in a place that was not so popular and posh then by the river Thames. We had the streets, alleys, allotments, reservoirs and Barnes Common when older to run off to with friends.

MY FIRST FRIEND

My first friend is the first, of my friends, to leave me,

And how I miss the mulling over of mindful memory.

Different understandings of the way things were.

Unlocking distant sounds, intensifying colours

To share for tea or coffee in our November years.

First, we would have played inside each other’s houses.

In mine, there were the many furry beasts to care for.

In hers, we taught and tended to the tiny dolls.

With mothers close by, ready to prepare our tea.

From the inside to the outside, first, we went into our gardens,

Or were these more just backyards behind the tall terraces.

A sparkling outside toilet I got locked in.

A perfect patch of grass was all we had to sit on.

Further first we ventured, out beyond the gates,

Into a shared back alley and a ruined place.

A building for our nightmares an alley for our games.

Budge, In the River, Hide and Seek and planes.

A first to wander further, faster up the street,

Legs pushing scooters or roller blading skates.

Further on we ventured towards the open skies

Into the green spaces of our childhood friends and games

First we wandered near her father, digging deep into

The turf of his allotment, just up the terraced street

Dodging folk along the paths to our mysterious marsh,

To the deep dug out waters of the then so many laughs

Further first when we were older with guide dog pups to walk

From Surreyside to Middlesex, to Hammersmith upon

the bridge of dreams, suspended from its mighty girders,

Staring through the gaps down to the swirling currents.

First to go together to Saturday Morning Pictures.

First to take the bus to different swimming pools.

First to take ourselves to picnic on Barnes Common.

First to wander wild along the river’s Surrey side .

We shared a kind of childhood that we think should be remembered,

A childhood that was free to explore green and vibrant spaces,

Letting us run so far and deep in the breath of the wild.

With the passing of the years we pray we don’t lose that child.

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43 thoughts on “A poem on the loss of my First Friend and our wild childhood in West London”

  1. If you’re Georgina Wright then I’m glad I found you through your comment left on dVerse Poets. If you’re not Georgina then nevermind. 🙂 But anyway, I loved your poem telling of you and your childhood friend. And I’m very sorry for your loss of her. I grew up being able to explore far and wide in our neighborhood like it sounds as if you did too. And I agree, these childhoods should be remembered. We had many children living near us (me and my five siblings) and I had a best friend too who is now having treatment for cancer. I guess we’re at that age where we may start losing some of our friends.
    Gayle ~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I am Georgina. And thanks for your comments. Some of us are coming to that age and it is sad to lose friends.mI think our mor

      e free to roam childhoods were really important experiences. Glad you had one too and I’ll try and follow up on your blog.When in Spain we don’t have 24 hour wifi…yet. Reception can be a problem but I enjoy looking at others blogs.

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      1. Oh good, then I’m glad I clicked on your comment on dVerse and found you after all since your link wasn’t working.

        No worries, about catching up with my blog given your erratic wifi but I’m happy for the connection and having you post your poem on dVerse.

        Gayle ~

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for correcting the link. I think I may have missed out the nature part of my blog. When I spoke to her sister after she had died I called her for the first time my first friend and realised the important parts of childhood we had shared and now wouldn’t be able to chat about.

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  2. What a treasure of a friend you had ~ I specially love this part:

    We shared a kind of childhood that we think should be remembered,

    A childhood that was free to explore green and vibrant spaces,

    Letting us run so far and deep in the breath of the wild.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So glad you joined in. I was going to link you, but I see someone else already did. I don’t think I can join up today…maybe later. A little crazy in my life right now.

    I love your work and the nostalgia woven through it. Friendship is such a beautiful gift–to be cherished while we have it and remembered fondly after loss. Look forward to seeing you around dVerse very often.

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    1. Thanks and I know I will miss her being around as she had just retired from a very busy job as a headteacher. Maybe it should never be goodbye and like the Spanish Hasta luego, until next time and who knows…

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  4. I really love all the layers you wove into this, so much depth and feeling, I really got a sense of all the years you knew each other. A beautiful tribute, and I am sorry for your loss.

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  5. Such a beautiful poem for your friend. I’m so sorry you lost her. Grief is so difficult. Sometimes it seems unbearable, coming in waves – sometimes tidal, sometimes the sweet lapping of waves upon the shore. All I can say is love yourself through it, and may you come through to the other side with Grace and the loving smiles of memory.
    Peace
    Mary

    Liked by 1 person

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