My entry to Colleen’s weekly poetry challenge this week is inspired by a piece I am editing for Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaving Competition.
It is taken from a part completed memoir I’ve written of my dad’s early childhood before the Second World War, including his travelling adventures to the Far East, Middle East, Pacific region, Caribbean and Africa. This is a short nostalgic paragraph about him lamenting the loss of the forests that he used to play in plus a poem about the same subject using the words peace and tear.
Before the Second World war children used to play in extensive woodland. This treasured land is now an estate of houses, which encroach upon the sloping fields leading further and further into the now diminishing wood. Yes, land is at a premium, and builders build property upon every spare inch of space – forget about the Thousand Acre Wood, it’s more like postage stamp wood.
I think Eeyore would have this to say: ‘Here today and gone tomorrow.’
The once wooded area has now become a permanent car park for the nearby primary school, built well after the war.
Today, there is just one sorry playground, a tiny place for local children to play in among the houses. It sits like a sad apology to the past.
In my childhood, I remember a veritable playground of fields, marshy land, and hedgerows, where children dawdled for hours playing cowboys and Indians and Doctors and Nurses. One of my favourite childhood pastimes was to construct a pretend shelter with my pals. A local woman would inspect the shelter and play along with our game with a serious air.
Nowadays, children play with manufactured games, watch TV, engage in computer activities, and twiddle with their mobile phones, oh how the world has changed!
This freedom meant that during the war years we would play in strange places, some of which weren’t at all safe. The concept of health and safety didn’t exist! Nowadays children can’t even get a work experience placement without going through a minefield of paperwork, which is a sorry state of affairs if you ask me.
Children enjoyed the simple pleasures of life, such as collecting cigarette and royal navy cards. Though, some weren’t so innocent, one lad with the same name as me took great pleasure in bullying his parents and the poor unfortunate cat. He would set the cat’s tail alight. His parents appeared terrified of him. He behaved like a vandal before vandalism become popular. This bully never bothered me, on the contrary, he encouraged me to stay around. I concluded that he enjoyed an audience for his daily wickedness! I would play with many boys, but none so infamous as Gavin Vernon who stole the stone of Scone from Westminster Abbey on Christmas day 1950!
© Marjorie Mallon 2017 – aka, Kyrosmagica. All Rights Reserved.
If you’d like to join in the challenge:
Bye for now,