Poetry Corner: No Guarantee

By Richard Wallace

I didn’t ask to come here.


Twenty minutes of lust

is hardly family planning.


I didn’t mean to interrupt you,

I didn’t know.


I’m sorry that

the rigors of your life

were not within my comprehension.


As I grew to know you

I became more and more confused.


In my naive adolescence

I was no match

for your schizophrenic approach

to problem solving.


The options that you presented to me

could never mesh

with my choices in life;



Your ego-driven expectations

defied logic.


I didn’t come into this world

with a guarantee

that you would be pleased with me.

I didn’t come with a promise

not to disappoint.


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6 replies »

  1. Phew. Just………..phew. Indeed.
    My lord………PEOPLE!
    Don’t take it out on your children – they didn’t ask to come here, and they are not you, and you are not them – they are separate, individual human beings.
    Lord, Richard, so much in a short poem.
    It’s something which always gets to me – when people see their children as being ‘theirs’, their possession, as though they therefore have to fit with their view – they don’t!
    They are their own people – they need to learn, to be taught some things, by those who have been here longer, to be better able to manage in the world, but …they are different, separate, people. Good on you Richard – you catch this, so well.
    Here’s someone else who did so………..

    “On Children’ by Khalil Gibran

    Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
    For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
    which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
    You may strive to be like them,
    but seek not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
    You are the bows from which your children
    as living arrows are sent forth.
    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
    and He bends you with His might
    that His arrows may go swift and far.
    Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
    For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
    so He loves also the bow that is stable.”

    Good man, Kahlil – Good man, Richard.

  2. Hey..thank you so much for giving me your thoughts and the poem by Khalil Gebran. The photo that Fiona put in says it all. Actually the poem was inspired by a similar photo, that of a young and sad girl with a suitcase sitting in either a bus or train station…a story to tell….thank you, Richard

  3. When I first saw the picture, I thought it was of a young hoodie lad, with angels wings. It then resolved itself into big, strong arms. As you say – the perfect choice of image.
    The poem is from ‘The Prophet’ by Kahlil Gibran – a ‘must read’ when I was in my teens.
    The young girl – have you ever seen the film ‘Cathy come home’?

  4. Hi Bernie, no, I have never seen that movie but I will try to find it. What I really need is your home mailing address because I have a book of poetry coming out in a couple of weeks and I would like to send a copy to you and also to Fiona. So that I don’t compromise your privacy to the whole world would you pls send your mailing address to the following email…that would be me on my old 25 yr old computer….here it it…richardghwallace@gmail.com…thank you, Richard

  5. That’s very good of you, Richard – I look forward to reading them. I’ve had a go at transferring your email address, and have sent you an email – we’ll see if it gets there!
    Are you forgetting, that you have my email address, and I have a different one for you, already?

    Re. ‘Cathy Come Home’ – it’s an old film, from 1966, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathy_Come_Home , and heart-breaking. I’m not sure how easy it would be to find, now.
    The girl with the suitcase in the railway station also reminded me of ‘She’s Leaving Home’, by The Beatles – ”She’s leaving home, after living alone for so many years.”
    A lot of meaning in a few words.
    And ‘Small Town Boy’ by Bronski Beat https://www.google.co.uk/search?source=hp&ei=YGpAXJWeKdXjgwfIz6P4Bg&q=Small+town+boy+The+communards+lyrics&btnK=Google+Search&oq=Small+town+boy+The+communards+lyrics&gs_l=psy-ab.3…2160.20205..22052…3.0..0.244.6326.0j41j2……0….1..gws-wiz…..0..0i131j0j0i10j0i22i30j33i21j33i160j33i22i29i30j33i22i10i29i30.P8HO4lOzos8
    That link looks a bit excessive – hope it’s right.
    In fact, after emailing you this morning, I did some ironing – I don’t like housework, so my solution is to put on some groovy music – in this case ‘The Singles Collection 1984/1990 featuring Jimmy Somerville Bronski Beat and The Communards.’ You can’t beat a good blast of ‘You make me feel (mighty real)’ for dispelling the housework blues!

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