personal, teenage son
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Poetry and knives

I saw this poetry on Facebook today, and it made me sweat. It happened live last night in Australia, and thank goodness my friend Kelly shared it early, so it exploded into my morning. Now it’s Trending all over the place, and rightly so.

Kate Tempest ‘Progress’ poem

Someone in the Comments called her a mediaeval prophet, and I think that’s perfect. She is completely embodying her passion, her skill, her need to communicate. I love her. So young, and so smart.

Did you notice the tweet ‘Kate Tempest reminds us old farts that we stopped maintaining the rage’? Brilliant, and true.

So I’m nearly 50, and just missed being a dreaded Baby Boomer, slipping quietly into Gen-X instead. I don’t think I’m particularly materialistic, although I enjoy my I-phone, and laptop, but I don’t think they rule my life…and sometimes I do indeed take Dylan Thomas’s advice:

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light…”

If I’m not having my nanna nap that is.

But I will always get out of bed for organic food, well-cooked, preferably at home (or for Naomi Campbell’s $10,000, whichever is more likely).

So that’s one reason I bought my seven-year old son a knife, and he still has it. No, not so he can defend himself against grumpy old people, or instant gratification teenagers, or even his I-still-feel-like-I’m-slightly-sleep-deprived Mum.


I bought it in Adelaide’s small Chinatown for only $5. In fact, I bought two. Because I knew my son would not share his, and that’s ok. He was 7 then; now he’s nearly 16 (in less than a month MY BABY!!), and stoops slightly over the chopping board to cut veggies.

I bought it for him because it’s small, very light, strong, and has a natural wooden handle; I can sharpen it more often now that he’s older. I bought it for him because I could see the temptation to plonk him in front of the TV screen or DS or mobile while I cooked dinner, but where’s the community and family experience in that?

Of course, I’m no Jamie Oliver/saint super Mum: I throw together a quick dinner 6 times out of 7. But over the 9 years since I bought him that knife, we’ve spent hours cutting stuff up. We started with cucumbers and zucchinis (even though he wouldn’t eat them!), then moved to carrots and apples. Now he chops anything (well, not a huge fan of onions), and loves complaining that I need to sharpen all the knives. He’s got a job as a kitchen hand on Saturdays in a groovy, upmarket café, and loves telling me what the chef cooked him for his staff lunch (we’re talking Wagu beef burger with Haloumi, chipotle mayo, salad etc).

He makes a mess when he cooks, and sometimes I DO wonder if the effort I spend on cleaning up is a good exchange, but then we bond over fancy mushroom eggs and steamed/fried sweet potato chips with goat’s cheese and smoked paprika, and I know it’s all worthwhile. Especially if it keeps him away from the screens Kate is talking about, and the empty feeling inside we are trying to fill. Did you watch her poem? Seriously, click on it  right now!

Kate Tempest ‘Progress’ poem

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