This happened outside my house today:
Sonnet 13: Daughter and mother cross the street
They stop the traffic. Big and small,
they stroll across the street with strollers,
no hand-holding, none of all
that worried care, those grinding molars.
Mother and her three year old
who pushes teddy, coolly bold,
sucking on her chup-a-chup,
mooch out and hold the traffic up,
though truth to tell it’s just one truck.
The driver waved them from the kerb
and watched with patience quite superb
a dreaming duckling and her duck
meander out. Ah, that’s the charm
to keep our young ones safe from harm.
I couldn’t fit everything into the 14 lines. I walked out of my door to see the woman and the little girl wandering across the road, with at least three metres between them – the little girl taking her own sweet time and completely out of reach in case a car came unexpectedly around a corner. I was amazed at the mother’s nonchalance. She mouthed ‘thank you’ to the truck driver. I took that as an opening , and when I caught up with her I said something like, ‘That was pretty amazing to watch.’ She explained that he had stopped for them even though there’s no pedestrian crossing.
The little girl pulled the lolly out of her mouth and waved at me with it. I said to her, ‘That would distract you from the road, wouldn’t it?’ Her mother explained that she had got the lolly from Woolworths where, in spite of her repeated complaints, they leave the sweets on a low shelf near the check-out: ‘I said, “I’m not paying for that. I don’t want it, but you’ve deliberately left it where my daughter can pick it up.” So we got it for free!’
We should all have had such mothers, to let us cross the street without fuss, to fight the wiles of capitalism, and to allow us an occasional sweet victory.