Learning to Climb


The little girl climbed high in the tree,
Looking up, up, up and never down
Golden leaves fell around her to join others on the ground.

White hair pinned, flower-print dressed,
Her grandmother stood below
Also looking up

Anticipating each step, each
Shift of weight. When the girl chose a rotten branch, she spoke;
Test it first.

Test it first.
And keep your weight close to the trunk.
The child listened.

Not, come on down.
Not, no higher please.
Not, you’re scaring me.

What the child heard: Test it.
Stay close to strong foundations as you rise.
Go on.

10 thoughts on “Learning to Climb

  1. “Test it first.” – Brings me back to my childhood. A great memory! I loved your poem for that exact reason. It brought me back to being a kid. You captured it. Thank you for sharing and inspiring!

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  2. Your grandmother was so smart. I love how she lets you “test it”, allowing you to explore and learn under her watchful eye. I appreciate her braveness as she stands there: “white hair pinned and flower-print dressed”.

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  3. What a beautiful piece with a beautiful message! The ending was my favorite:
    “What the child heard: Test it.
    Stay close to strong foundations as you rise.
    Go on.”
    So powerful!

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  4. I missed this one earlier. I’m so glad I came back to this powerful poem. I have memories of climbing trees, but I never had an adult near. I could have used some wise advice. I worry that some or even many of our current generation of children are never allowed to try things out. Their experiences are often controlled.
    BTW, I love your new blog format.

    Like

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