Poem 111 – Circular Identity

Remember childhood years that stretched
Where nothing seemed to change at all
Except our teeth. Remember how
They used to hang on fragile threads
Forever, wiggled by the tongue
Until one day they disappeared?

Eventually a switch was flicked
New genes asserted influence
A sudden surge, the teenage kick
With child and adult overlaid
Doubly exposed awhile before
The hormone shock shook out the child
A whiskey burn that makes us wince

A newborn person stands before
A mirror wondering ‘Who am I?
Where is the manual that informs
Us how to be a grown-up in
This strange and unfamiliar world?’
Until one day a match is made
Where each completes the other’s question

A few years on the subject shifts
A babe becomes its object as
We ask who it might take after
Ironic really as our process
Of metamorphosis has ended
The circle finally has closed
And we’ve become our parents and
The children’s teeth are getting loose

Nature or nurture?

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 102 – Rooted

My weary inbox yawns, bored of
The soulless messages it circulates
But look, lurking amongst the drudge something
Deeper, my DNA results are in
This past geneticist is thrilled to find
The web of coded chains traversed
Binding in double-helix unity
Ancestral homes, ethnicity revived
I trace the paths along this oak’s branches
Running my finger past the unfamiliar
Whom suddenly belong to me and I
To them, my relatives, my blood unveiled
I now can claim with confidence that I
Stand on this ancient shore’s foundation
Its past and mine are spiritually entwined
My roots drink deeply, nourishing my soul
Whilst rooted in one spot its branches spread
Beyond as do its tendrils out of sight
To permeate Germanic past to reach
Beyond white cliffs to Scandinavian sands

My Ancestry DNA test findings have been released. Suddenly I have a lot more relatives.

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 42 – The UnProdigal Son

I knew the story but wasn’t certain
Exactly what prodigal meant
So I looked it up and I’m glad to say
That my son is not it
Although he left university bound
He didn’t have the gall
To request his share of my estate
As if I’d met my end
I’m glad to say his student loan
Hasn’t been blown upon
Wild student parties and loose living
A mad freshers’ week fling
But even though that isn’t him
It definitely doesn’t mean
I don’t love him with a father’s love
And rejoice when he comes home

Our son has been home to visit for a few days, it’s been lovely to see him!


© Ben Quant 2021

Picture: “The Return of the Prodigal Son”, by Rembran(d)t Harmenszoon van Rijn, c. 1669 (Public Domain)