out on a limb

council employee pruning old tree to make it safe

I was wondering: do adults still ask small children what they want to be when they grow up? And if they do, what are the popular answers?

When I was a little girl, boys still wanted to be train drivers and girls wanted to be ballet dancers. True, one of my brother’s friends was reported to have said he wanted “to be a computer”, but then, we’d always thought he was a bit odd.

Even with modern technology and the idea that children don’t get outside and play the way we used to, I think there must still be boys who think climbing trees is fun, although they probably don’t think it’s a viable career option.

I wonder what the chap in the picture says he does. Do you think he admits to being a tree feller? (And, yes, he was one of a team of three fellas working to make that particular tree safe.) Or do you think he’s so blasé about it, or so fed up of people’s comments that he simply says “I work for the council”?

council employee pruning old  tree to make it safe

I know I posted this poem quite recently, but it seems appropriate again now. So here’s a sonnet with some tree climbing in it:

Hero worship

Do you remember how you used to tease,
kidnap my teddy, lock him in a drawer
or hang him from the banisters, ignore
my screams, my tears, my heartfelt ‘pretty please’?
You mocked me when I fell and scraped my knees;
mine was the losing side in every war
of cowboys, Indians, cops and robbers. Bored
you’d wander off and go and climb the trees
beyond my reach, and I’d be left alone.
Forgetting physical and mental pain
I’d wait impatiently beside the phone
until the next day, when we’d start again.
The years have passed but I still feel the same,
hoping against hope to join your games.


Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

3 thoughts on “out on a limb”

  1. From experience, children say whatever is popular and fun – Pokemon trainer when tiny, switching to Forensic Scientist then back to Etsy seller.

    As unlikely as a stuntman was for me.


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