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by David O'Hanlon

When my daughter played outside,

she’d carry with her round the garden,

hugged to her chest, a cracked earthen vase,

dripping water. She wouldn’t let me replace it


or fix the cracks. The drops marked out

a breadcrumb trail over the decking

and the paving slabs. Never would she

reveal to me the inner secret of her game.


I’d watch from the window,

and Lucretius would muddy my thoughts:

he said if the body’s a vessel,

then the water in it’s the soul,


and each drip was time and nature

taking its toll. The price we all pay.

But I shake such nonsense away.

It’s just a vase and water and a game,


a game the joy of which, as she grew older,

drained away, and now her little earthen vase

stands empty by the door,

but tries to fill with water when it rains.




by David O'Hanlon, from History (£7.99, £2.99 Kindle)

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