The Only Child.


I was an only one.
A loner, a watcher, a thinker,
loved, but misunderstood.
I befriended flowers,
helped bumblebees to fly
and mourned dead birds.
Other people remained strangers to me
but I understood my pets.

An only child walks their own path.
They are the still centre of their own world,
not spoiled, not selfish,
but grounded in their own being-
a strong tower of solitude.
What should they do but watch and consider?
Where should they go but home?
Who else should they be but themselves?

Creativity is watered by seclusion.
Time spent learning how to be
safe in your own company
ensures that you will never be alone.
The ability to please yourself
and remain comfortable in the far reaches
of your own imagination
will last for a lifetime.

An only child is a gift to themselves.


2 comments on “The Only Child.

  1. Nigel Morgan says:

    Dear Patricia,

    This is a theme / subject that I think has appeared before on your blog. It’s both affecting and interesting. One could look at dispassionately and ask does being an only child affect the potential of personal creativity (in the same vein as does having children affect the artist – all that ‘pram in the hall’ stuff). I’m the eldest of five and the father of six, so have often asked myself how I and my children have fared as one of many (mostly) companionable siblings. There’s a lot of negative jealousy present and attention-seeking to balance against the positive action and support of a large family. Your poem captures so well something of that being ‘the only child’. I was five years older than my progressively younger brothers and might as well have been an only child because solitude and loneliness certainly watered my creativity (and dreaming) from a very young age.

    I admire you so for examining your childhood – the photos help of course and are important triggers – but for most of us we don’t want to ‘go there’, to our childhood, it’s often too uncomfortable and ‘difficult’ all these years later.


    PS: I was up your way last week walking Hockney’s Woldgate Lane (with one of my sons)having seen the latest Hockney Show ‘The Arrival of Spring’ at Salts Mill – recommended both.

    • patricia1957 says:

      Thank you Nigel! It’s lovely to get a response like yours and connect with people through my writing. I grew up near Woldgate lane and I love Hockney’s East Yorkshire work!

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