Footprints in the snow

I don’t ask if you remember
those footprints in that cave –
mother and child, walking.
I wonder if she took a moment
to look back at where they’d walked,
or if she kept on moving,
eyes fixed ahead.

Our footprints will be gone
by lunchtime – washed away,
meltwater merging into mud,
and looking back, it’s hard to know
which of us is mother, which
is child. You’ve grown.
Sneaked up on me, like time.

This is for Brendan’s earthweal challenge on Deep Time. There’s a bit of synchronicity here – I had a poem called “Pech Merl” published in Black Bough’s Deep Time II collection last year. Walking in the snow at the weekend with my son reminded me of the parent and child footprints we saw in the caves there, several years ago. I had that in my head trying to be a poem, and then Brendan’s prompt came along. If you’re interested, there is a Deep Time soundtrack with lots of great poetry readings here:


11 thoughts on “Footprints in the snow

  1. That’s a beautiful poem. You have used a simple idea, and made it rich with allusions to the different forms of time. You’ve linked your personal history to the history of humanity, and woken emotional resonances from both. It’s a delight.


  2. So wonderful – those mother and child footprints, in the cave, and then your more recent ones. Kids do grow like that – so suddenly they are grown and gangly………..


  3. Gone in a moment and forever here, that’s the paradox I read in those footprints. And the mother and child are present and thousands of years past. Ambled past and catching up. Great weave of immense time- and heart-scales. – Brendan


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