This beautiful poem by Andrew Waterhouse needs no lengthy introduction, save to say that it creates a powerful image of both the simplicity, complexity and irreplaceable relationship between grandparent and grandchild, regardless of age, context or culture…and that Ready Generations is currently exploring. Watch this space!
I decide to do it free, without a rope or net. First, the old brogues, dusty and cracked; an easy scramble onto his trousers, pushing into the weave, trying to get a grip.
By the overhanging shirt I change direction, traverse along his belt to an earth-stained hand.
The nails are splintered and give good purchase, the skin of his finger is smooth and thick like warm ice. On his arm I discover the glassy ridge of a scar, place my feet gently in the old stitches and move on.
At his still firm shoulder, I rest for a while in the shade, not looking down, for climbing has its dangers, then pull myself up the loose skin of his neck to a smiling mouth to drink among teeth.
Refreshed, I cross the screed cheek, to stare into his brown eyes, watch a pupil slowly open and close. Then up over the forehead, the wrinkles well-spaced and easy, to his thick hair (soft and white at this altitude), reaching for the summit, where gasping for breath I can only lie watching clouds and birds circle, feeling his heat, knowing the slow pulse of his good heart.