a word here, a word there…

We took the Lawyer to Nottingham to drop him off as he started his degree. He was 18 and self possessed in a way that I wasn’t and am still not. He took it in his stride, I was in bits. I wrote this on the way home, recalling as I did so how I felt on my first night in Hall in 1975 when I went to University. I’m pretty sure he had no such doubts…

Hand over


Today you walked away from me.

You didn’t look round to let me see

If you were smiling or close to tears;

You kept from me your hopes and fears

And let me do the babbling chat

As I spoke fondly of this and that,

Memories from a sanitized youth.

How lovely, how fine; so far from truth.

Of Course. I sat on my bed that night,

Alone, home sick, nerves held tight.

Would they be friendly, would they be friends?

True companions or means to an end?

Why had I come? Why take a chance?

Was I reading too much in that glance?

You stopped and stared across the lawn,

Profile blurred, I watched forlorn

As you held a pose, firm upright,

Then turned away, and out of sight.

I blew out a long-held breath,

Closed my eyes, ground my teeth.

I held in mind that final frame,

An image that might dull my pain.

A picture of your long straight back,

Cropped blond hair, rolling gait.

You walked away, my darling Sam

This day when you became a man.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in poems, poetry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to a word here, a word there…

  1. That is lovely Geoff, and brought a tear to my eye.Your pride in your son shines through 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah this says it just right. I hope writing helps. It helped me. Child number 2 leaves in the Autumn. Allbest

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sniff! It was partly down to his mum and dad that he was able to be that way. Am very glad that Uni did go well for you and, of course, led you and the Textiliste to meet!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That got me – I guess we parents have all known that moment ……….. The grand thing is they survive, they blossom and they keep on coming back 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jan says:

    Your lovely poem really captures the sadness of letting go of one’s child. I remember the long drive home from my son’s college that first time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. rogershipp says:

    Letting go can bring such pleasure and such sadness.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Charli Mills says:

    That’s so touching! When we dropped off our eldest daughter, we saw a young man walking around with a canoe paddle strapped to his back and Sharpie pen tattoos all over his body. I wondered, whose son is that crazy kid?! Turns out it was Paula Moyer’s son and now he’s mine, too! I always think it’s funny that I spotted my daughter’s future husband right away. And he’s not crazy…I love him! Ah, what a day that first day is. Well memorialized.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Norah says:

    Lovely as always. I enjoyed the way you made the comparison between Sam’s experience and your own.


  9. Annecdotist says:

    Very touching, Geoff, as are all the comments that echo that sentiment.


  10. 😀 “He was 18 and self possessed in a way that I wasn’t and am still not.” Okay, I’ll be serious. Because, really, it’s beautiful. But I don’t want to think about this now. Not for a long time. (And don’t say it’ll be here before I know it, please.) I’m actually crying a bit…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thom Hickey says:

    Thanks. Powerful and poignant. Looking forward to many more visits in 2026. Regards Thom.

    Liked by 1 person

If you would like to reply please do so here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.