Imaginary Friend – a sonnet

This is a poem about an imaginary friend, a provider of comfort and a sounding board for those unhappy moments in childhood.

As usual with these things some are my experiences (the budgie, the reading) and others belong to the rest of my year. I never had to wear a blazer, just a nylon sweater that fitted like clingfilm. There is more about school ponds elsewhere on this blog but I never went in one, by choice or otherwise

My imaginary friend was called Johnny Kettle and lived over the back. I hope I haven’t broken any rules disclosing that.

When they ripped up my homework Johnny was there

Crouched behind the shed so none saw my tears

In cobwebs and nettles I learned not to care

They’ll tire, he said. Their hurt’s driven by fear

When I missed penalties. When my budgie died

When I had to read in assembly and choked

‘Be like a mirror, though you’re crying inside.’

‘When you’re thrown in the pond and your blazer’s soaked.’

We’d talk by torchlight. Johnny wouldn’t reveal

Himself. His whispered guidance brought only good

We spoke less. My confidence grew, my wounds healed

What was left unspoken was understood

Dismissed as a fad. Gone when childhood ends

It was my privilege to call him a friend

8 thoughts on “Imaginary Friend – a sonnet

  1. this gave me chills – loved it. every year, some of my young students, 1 or 2, will tell me about their imaginary friend and i do my best to honor their friends.

      1. our kids find a little rock with their name on it when they come in the room each day. this is to teach them to recognize their names and to take their own attendance. (3 and 4 year olds). i always make a rock for their ‘friend’ as well if requested.

  2. I never had an imaginary friend, but when I grew up, I regretted that. Being an only child, I spent so much time alone in my bedroom, it would have nice to have had company.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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