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Ten Minutes

I am the oldest of four girls,

And four girls can be a crowd.

Time alone with Mother was the stuff of wishes.

One  morning I awoke early and realized:

My sisters are still asleep!

There was a faint rattle of cutlery.

And Mummy is down in the kitchen by herself!

I slithered out of bed and crept down the stairs

Masterfully negotiating the squeaks

Hardly believing my good luck.


Mummy was alone,

Sitting in the sunlight, her elbows propped

On the table already set for four hungry children

With strawberry jam in a cut-glass bowl

And vivid little rainbows on the cloth.

Her shiny black hair was pinned in a thick scroll

At the back, with a sneaky wisp escaped over her ear.

Her bending neck was white, and graceful

Her gown a little open over her leaning breasts -

Almost not quite ‘Mother’.


‘I can still hear the sonorous gurgle of the percolator

Smell the pungent coffee

See the steam from her rosebud cup as she sips

The thin porcelain just touching her lips.

She is absorbed in the magazine spread out before her

Enjoying the large glossy pictures, reading their captions.

I cannot believe my good luck.

I pray  to God that my sisters will stay asleep

Please – please - for  ten minutes more.

I want this time!’


How my quiet mother must have stifled a sigh

When she saw me, eyes agog with anticipation.

But she only smiled and said, ‘Good morning, Honey.’

She poured a glass of juice inviting me to sit with her

And right away I started chattering about my funny dream.

She put her magazine aside, drank her cooling coffee,

Listened and laughed with me in all the right places.

I didn’t know then that ten minutes could be so many things.

Now, I am a mother.  And I remember that day.

So - I, too,  smile and say: ‘Good morning, Honey.’ 




◄ Happy New Year

Perspective ►


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Wed 24th Oct 2012 16:18

Absolutely brilliant !!!A gripping account of a few special moments.

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John F Keane

Mon 23rd Apr 2012 19:54

Five women? How did your father cope, lol

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Dave D Poet Rhumour

Tue 21st Feb 2012 11:11

This is a charming narrative - the sense of the young girl recording those moments is tangible.

Best wishes, Dave

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Martin Peacock

Mon 20th Feb 2012 13:22

What a sweet poem this is, CBT: you paint a damned fine portrait! [and I say that as an only child - never any competition for parents' time, but it was precious nonetheless]

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Mike Hilton

Mon 20th Feb 2012 11:47

Loved this poem Cynthia!
Great title, lovely lines and nice imagery.
A really good read.


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Adam Warwicker

Sat 18th Feb 2012 11:11

The imagery is just so vivid that you can so easily picture the scene. And the tension and suspense of will the sisters wake up and ruin the moment. Great stuff.

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John Coopey

Mon 6th Feb 2012 20:23

Wow, Cyn. Lovely story-telling and succession of images.


Mon 6th Feb 2012 16:57

This is a super poem, haven't read the other comments yet but thought 'soothing coffee' might sound preferable in stanza 6 of verse 4. It works better with the perception of your mother's persona as otherwise described. x

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Harry O'Neill

Mon 6th Feb 2012 16:15


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Poets Corner

Mon 6th Feb 2012 13:56

I Love this Poem so much Cynthia...Yes perfection does not and will never exist in anything we ever say or do but the feelings you felt in that 'Early Morning Light' will always just belong to you!
Hey good name for a title eh?

We have not met Cynthia but I hope u did not mind me commenting on such a lovely piece of heartfelt poetry!


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Laura Taylor

Mon 6th Feb 2012 12:15

Am wondering why the third verse is in quotation marks. Also in the same verse, I think there may be a surplus 'not' - in this line "I cannot not believe my good luck"

Lovely poem. Again, happy mummy stuff always makes me feel a bit...envious I guess...wistful. Jealous of the joy in someone else's childhood. How very grown up of me.

This is beautifully evocative.

I love the title, btw :)

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Tommy Carroll

Mon 6th Feb 2012 10:17

@Stella: :o)
@CBT: :o)

<Deleted User> (6315)

Mon 6th Feb 2012 01:06

love it too Cynthia,

I think the title you have works perfectly.

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Sun 5th Feb 2012 22:52

A charming piece, Cynthia. You conjure up that scene so well and mix past and present tense in an interesting way that makes it more immediate.

One to one time is precious in large families and that 10 minutes of 'me' time is also precious to a parent - your poem gets that message across beautifully.

It sounds like you were blessed with a very orderly mother. I think my children will remember me for chaos and laughter - and they wouldn't expect to find me sitting in a tidy kitchen with a breakfast table set - they'd be more likely to slipping into bed for a cuddle :)

'Me Time' is the only title I could come up with, as it could apply to you both. x

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Sun 5th Feb 2012 22:02

Hi Cynthia,
Incredibly moving poem this one.It's always the time our parents set aside for us as children that we recall with fondness,not the amount of things they did or din't buy us. How about "The Stuff Of Dreams" for a title? In any case,well done.Lovely piece of work! x

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Dave Bradley

Sun 5th Feb 2012 20:51

This is so vivid. Cynthia. Could practically smell the coffee, and the feelings come to life so strongly. Precious Time?

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Sun 5th Feb 2012 18:20

The editting hours spent on this piece beggar belief. If I've shared it before, this is an updated version. I've decided to leave my original title, even though it is rather common. I've come across at least two poems with the same name. Actually, suggestions would be welcome, if anyone cares to do so.

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