And They All Lived Happily

Denise Blake

All bad guys died in the end. 
My kiss did make bruises better. 
It was right to put lost teeth under a pillow 
and that time, when you didn’t find money, 
there really was a tooth-fairy holiday. 

I told the truth about castor oil 
as you have grown big and strong. 
Broccoli, porridge, the last bit on your plate,  
have been the making of you. 
I really believed your Granny would get better. 
I didn’t think your eyes would possibly stick 
that way, but it seemed the thing to say. 
That report card wasn’t worth all my giving out, 
I knew your teacher had a pick against you 
but how to admit that to a ten-year-old?  

We weren’t made of money. I did need a break. 
Our dog did go to live on a farm, for a while.  
When I said I’ll think about itI did. 
You do know I was I right about that girl. 
Honestly, most of the time, I told you the truth. 

From Invocation (2018), by kind permission of Revival Press 

A word from Denise Blake:

This poem began as a reflection on parenting and the stories I told my sons. There were times when a soft lie was kinder than a brutal truth. There was protection, learned reactions, humour and plain tiredness. These ideas became And They All Lived Happily, a personal poem. It now feels that, through Poetry Ireland, the poem has been energised. The words have resonated with others; young parents, parents with adult children and those who heard these words as children. I feel the circularity of life in this and I am grateful to Poetry Day Ireland. #PoetryDayIre.