When I was a little girl

Fascination lay in the bottom drawer

Of a corner cabinet

Where hid a small bulging bag

Stuffed full of my mother’s girlhood hair –

Waist-length plaits, severed at the nape of her adolescent neck

When a more grown-up style beckoned

In the 1950s.


When I dared,

I would pull out one of the soft, heavy ropes,

Navy-blue school ribbon still tethering its end

And hold it to my own neck

Marvelling that my mother,

With her ever-changing colours, curls and styles,

Ever had the same plain, brown hair as me.


When I think of my mother now,

I remember her not just by her things,

By the bags stuffed in drawers,

But through my son’s shy smile,

My sisters’ gentle voices

And the waist-length plaits snaking down my daughter’s back.



Filed under poetry

24 responses to “When

  1. Becky

    Oh Louise your writing always moves me to tears! Gorgeous! X

  2. amylovestosew

    Oh how lovely. This bought back a memory of finding a lock of my mum’s hair in my grandparents wardrobe, again tied up with a blue ribbon. How special to be reminded of your mum through your daughter – beautiful sentiment in a beautiful poem.

  3. ❤️
    Lovely 🙂

  4. maddy@writingbubble

    Awww, this brought tears to my eyes! Gorgeous poem. #prose4t

  5. What a lovely warm heartfelt post. Short but so very sweet. Gave me goosebumps ♡


  6. There is so much in this poem, I’ve read it a few times now… I see my mum in my son’s expressions too…. It still takes me by surprise sometimes… I love how you end with your daughter’s plaits ‘snaking down’ her back. Beautiful.

  7. Such a lovely post!! Beautiful words. Thanks for linking up #bestandworst

  8. Tracey @ One Frazzled Mum

    This was so lovely to read, beautiful! #Prose4T

  9. This gave me goosebumps Louise, it is totally beautiful. That last verse completes this piece in so many ways. Thank you for linking to Prose for Thought – and commenting from #WhatImWriting too

  10. What a beautiful, evocative piece. You really capture that fascination and connection. Just gorgeous. #prose4t

  11. I really enjoyed this poem and the unusual sample of subject matter (hair!) Very moving indeed. A x

  12. A beautiful poem, beautifully written x

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