“His mobile won’t give him a chance”

“… And when at last we’re seated
he’s all that I can see
but his mobile won’t give him a chance
to be alone with me – who knows
what’s going on through his mind
which once I knew so well
he couldn’t wait to be with me
he couldn’t wait to tell …”

— from Lunch, by Maria Grech Ganado


This is one of my favourite poems in Maria Grech Ganado’s Framed. This is the part that is so vivid, so evocative that it feels like you’re seated at the cinema watching a movie and you’re seeing it all unfold.

A mother and her grown-up son, sitting opposite each other at a restaurant. A busy trattoria, a checked table cloth, wooden chairs. It’s a rare moment these days to be just the two of them. The mother has been looking forward to it, eager to catch up with what’s going on in her son’s life. You can see the longing, the questions, the care, the worry, in her eyes.

Then there’s the son. Who knows what he’s thinking? He is, as most of us are wont to be these days, engrossed in a screen – his mobile phone. He is oblivious to the world around him. He does not connect with the ambience, with the noises, with the movement around him. And he fails to realise how much this lunch, this moment means for his mother.

I’ve read this poem countless times, and each time I discover a new detail, a new little insight which makes me ponder. It reminds me of W.H.Davies’ Leisure and how with screens surrounding us everywhere, we are failing to connect.

Perhaps I should confess, that since I came across this poem, I’ve started putting away my phone when I’m chatting with my mother.

This is the beauty of poetry. It nudges us to stamp out the worst of us.

(photo: Steve Johnson, Unsplash)