I'm paying for the careless laughs I cast at my poor mother in the past when she would cringe and turn away as we sought edges to enhance our play. High trees and rooftops cliffside walks - whatever would extend the view beyond the grim grey granite grip we knew. The humour lay in knowing we were safe, that these short frissons were a break between long stretches of mundane and easy comfort, free from pain. Perhaps, we thought, it does her good to gasp and shudder, shout and blame - she knows that nothing's gained by shouting "Not too close!" That just extends the game. And then we're home and she, once more, is sane.
That un-won wisdom taunts me now. The thought that fear was rare, somehow that each new feat of daring was a treat the spice and colour in a mother's life which otherwise was dull.
Then, suddenly, my children, you appear and now I fear that everything's a crumbling clifftop a wind-bent, beetle-brittle branch that you are twisted in the fickle hands of chance Your precious whims your pale, glass-fragile skins are buffeted by everything. All ice is thin - the wolves are real it was not just the wind.
And even here upon the edge of morning misfired wires inside your precious head could make a storm-tossed life-raft of your cozy bed I stand beside you, out of reach though long prepared to meet the reason I am scared. You curl and shrink turn glassy eyes towards the wall
while I await the blow that, thank God, doesn't fall, this time my youthful self has found a cliff to climb above a rocky beach and cackles at his mother's panicked call.