Watching strangers in a queue, it is rewarding to spot family likenesses and to guess at relationships. A father (forty plus) and son (fourteen plus) in the bank queue this morning, have the same nose, the same eyes, the same expression round the mouth.
In the pub restaurant, a very small baby sits at the head of the table in a high chair, while a party of eight have lunch and exchange presents. Every now and then the child, aged perhaps 8 months, throws a parcel to the floor to assert his responsibilities as chairman.
Poem for Christmas and the New Year
The more you know, the less you understand,
Too close to recognise what you embrace
Or the paths that spread from your open hand
Like roots in search of nourishment and space.
The closer you look, the less you see
Of features that were there from the start.
Impossible to shake off even now -
Uncertainty for certain, the future free
Up to the edge of singularity.
You may be in two places at the same time,
And not know, in either, how to behave,
Particulate, blind anarchic, random,
As stories told of you and me and her and him
Merge in the crash of a breaking wave,
Ride up the shore, slap rocks, grind shingle,
Caress the wind-smoothed flanks of shifting sand
Where foamy fingers soak away, and gulls call
Victory over the salt-spiked wind.
You must keep going, though you won't know where,
Where you begin, or where, if ever, you will end,
Enthralled by the rhythm of this big affair,
Too long, too bright, too fast to grasp.
Moment after moment keep the first moments live,
Billions of fragments in your expanding mind
Fuel the questions which keep coming up.
And from the pupa, complete, past common
Sense or reason, you climb, immense, four wings
Intact, six legs, eyes, thorax, abdomen;
And antennae poised to unwind like springs.