On the Beach

My Daddy is a teacher
From nine till half past three,
And Mummy works all day and night
Just doing things for me.

When Mummy’s work is finished,
(She says she’s never done)
They put me in their little car
To take me for a run.

I have a bright red bucket
Which Mummy bought for me,
And a little pale blue plastic spade
For digging by the sea.

We go down to the seaside
And find a sheltered space,
They doze or read, I make sand pies
Or crawl about the place.

While Daddy talks to Mummy
I fill my mouth with sand,
And then I climb all over them
With more in either hand.

They’re very patient with me,
I really can’t complain,
So when they’ve brushed the sand all off
I do it once again.

At last the sun is setting
And a calm falls on the sea,
And both of them seem very glad
When a calm descends on me.

I take my little plastic spade,
I clutch my bucket red,
And Daddy puts me on his back
And takes me home to bed.

For Helier 2nd April 1971

Oh, where is my Teddy?

Oh, where is my Teddy?
I can’t go to bed
If I haven’t got Teddy
To place by my head.

I don’t think I left him
Downstairs in the hall,
Or lost in the garden
Where the grass grows so tall.

I had him this morning
With me in the car,
I don’t think he fell out,
He can’t have gone far.

He’s not in the bathroom,
I did have a peep,
If I haven’t got Teddy
I can’t go to sleep.

I’ve searched in the kitchen
Where I know Teddy runs
When he’s looking for honey
Or sugary buns.

Will you please find my Teddy
And bring him to me,
I’m lonely without him
And he misses me.

Will you tell him it’s bedtime,
Mummy’s kissed me goodnight,
We said “God bless Daddy”
And turned out the light.

But I lie awake, waiting
Alone in the dark
And thinking of Teddy
With me in the park.

It’s cosy and warm
And I soon fall asleep,
I dream of green monsters
In blue oceans deep.

When I wake in the morning,
Beside me in bed
I find Teddy sleeping,
Just like Mummy said!

Helier lost his Teddy, and found it! April 1976

Summer Kitchen

La Croute RoadsideEarly tomatoes
On the window ledge
Slowly turning red
In summer sunshine.
Fresh mint and parsley
Waiting for potatoes
Steaming and buttered
In the willow dish.
Full-blown Peace petals
Fall on the table
Near raspberries fresh
Picked for jam making.
Gingham curtains blow
Sunshine and shadows
While wasps explore
The scraps saved for Puss.
Grandfather spreads out
His morning paper,
Puts on his glasses
And starts his day.

Daddy is ill

Daddy is ill upstairs in bed,
So we mustn’t make too much noise,
We mustn’t play Indians or gallop and shout
Or fight over each other’s toys.

He really is poorly, he doesn’t look well,
He hasn’t been downstairs for days,
And Mummy’s so busy going upstairs and down
Carrying newspapers, bottles and trays.

We do go and see him and pussy comes too,
She loves climbing over his bed;
But we mustn’t bounce like we do when he’s well,
Every sound of it goes to his head.

We help him get rid of the fruit on his tray
And the sweets that he has in his drawer;
We try to be thoughtful and loving and kind
And hope Mummy brings him some more.

We lend him our Teddy and Golly and dolls
Which we tuck down beside him in bed,
Or to stop him being bored we bring him our books
Which we place in a pile near his head.

We know he loves reading and we feel it will help
If, instead of newspapers and things,
We coax him to read all our favourite tales
Of mermaids, bad witches and kings.

It can’t be too serious, the doctor’s not been,
We wish he would come all the same,
With his little black bag and stethoscope bright
We would let him take part in our game.

We’ll be glad when Dad’s better, it shouldn’t be long,
For we’re trying very hard to be good;
It’s so much more fun when he’s healthy and strong
And plays with us as daddies should.

Mummy shares our impatience, she’ll be glad when it’s through,
In the meantime she’s doing her best;
And Dad will be glad when at last he gets up,
And can go back to work for a rest.