Experiment 1959

What happens if a baby primate grows up

without a hug? TV – a treat…in pyjamas

and dressing gown – sipping Horlicks with two

chocolate digestive biscuits – the cord loose

at my side. They have not yet asked me the question.


The experiment: monkeys in a laboratory,

one has a ‘mother’ made of steel mesh

the second of soft wool, both offered  

bottles of milk to suck, or none – separate

cages, no companions – alone.


The monkey with the wire mother

becomes anxious, tense, dies young.

Mothers die too, and the carving knife,

once raised before breakfast…

is just a memory – I tie the cord tight.

Steve Walter