He made me a swing on the tree
at the bottom of the garden,
where the ground gaped out into a ravine over the river.
The swing swung you out over the ravine,
and there was nothing so terrifying and so satisfying.
There it was I broke my wrist and, later, my collarbone.
And yet, each time, Father replaced the broken blue rope
and wove a stout piece of timber into the hangman’s noose.
We smiled at each other and I launched out again,
Terrified and satisfied.
And somehow it was all of a piece
with a world where
the strong survive and the weak submit.
It was part of the stories where trolls hide under bridges
and elves snatch babies from the cradles
And so, even today, I cannot be easy-going about life.
Because happiness is not humdrum
And life belongs to the immoderate.
And I said “When I am bigger, I’ll make a swing so I can reach the places I can’t yet reach.”
So how did we learn it, that talent for insatiability?