Worth the Wait

Tane stands in front of the strawberries in their bed

Waiting for then to change from green to red

Because Grandma said we have to wait for the red.

‘Don’t touch. Not ready,’ I said.


Tane sits in Grandma’s car in the traffic lights queue

Waiting for them to change from red to green.

Because Grandma said we have to wait for the green.

“Red. Red. Ready now!” he yells. “Silly you!”


Pear leaves turn slowly green orange red.

But no cars stop for them.  We watch as bare branches

Speed in the wind and lean out sideways

As they skid round tight corners. Stop! We say.


At tea time when the sky turns orange

No clouds and no cars ever slow for it,

And it doesn’t fall down, like leaves shed,

And we can’t reach up to eat it, when it’s red.


This is why we trust fire engines best.

They are always red and always ready.

They never stop at traffic lights or for us at crossings.

And yesterday Tane touched one.


After the fire alarm rang in the apartment building

The heaving engine did stop, this time,

Right here, right now, right beside us.

And now Tane feels he has swallowed

The fire engine whole, red, and ready

And it is glowing and lit up inside him.

The way no sky, leaves, traffic lights or strawberry

Will ever be, no matter how long he waits.



2 thoughts on “Worth the Wait

  1. God! How exquisite Janice! I’m so glad I can come into your blog, virtual realm ongoing, and read such delightful works any time I want a treat. I see you have swallowed the rainbow … long may it radiate via your pen!

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