General Poetry posted May 1, 2018 Chapters:  ...119 120 -121- 122... 

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A poem about childhood

A chapter in the book A Potpourri of Poetic Curiosities

Cracker night

by CD Richards

'Twas cracker night, and gathered to the fray,
(apologies to Banjo, I must say),
were cousins, aunts and uncles, local kids—
one wouldn't miss this bash— no, not for quids.

For days, dad worked on building the bonfire,
as bit by bit, the tandle pyre grew higher.
Old tree loppings and bits of rotted fence,
most anything to make the flame intense.

While Catherine wheels span on the post or rail,
we watched in awe as sky rockets set sail
into the black of night, chasing the stars,
"That purple one exploded right near Mars!"

With Thunder bungers, Tom Thumbs and Throwdowns
we took our chances, always being clowns.
From time to time, someone got in the way,
and copped a Roman Candle's fiery spray.

Then with the bicarb mum would treat our burns,
on bad nights, we'd be lining up for turns—
then wipe the tears away, and back outside,
as dogs and cats sought out a place to hide.

I miss those nights when I was around eight,
before our land became a nanny state;
and simple pleasures vanished one by one
as bureaucrats conspired to end our fun.

So now, our kids are safe in bubble-wrap,
official types don't get into a flap;
instead, the children, glued to their PCs
and cell phones, google unknown words like "breeze",

or "sunshine", "ball", "the beach", "skateboard" and "park";
they never venture outside, there's no spark,
no danger, no excitement, no best friend—
they vegetate, and wait for life to end.

At least that is the way it is for some,
for whom the internet's both dad and mum.
It's time we cut our housebound kids a break,
and learned to let them live, for goodness' sake.

Today, let's take them for an ocean swim,
or any crazy escapade, on whim;
to ride a mountain bike through forests green—
who gives a toss if they don't come home clean?

At childhood, we are all given one chance,
so let them build a fort, or learn to dance;
they need to grow, and make mistakes in play,
for they can be adults another day.



Image: By Gary Houston [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons

Today's word: tandle (n.) a bonfire.

* I have intentionally "stolen", in tribute, one phrase from a famous poem by A.B. (Banjo) Paterson's The Man From Snowy River, which contains the following:

"and all the cracks had gathered to the fray",

hence the "apologies to Banjo" line.

My much-treasured Christmas present for 2017 is a book by Paul Anthony Jones: "The cabinet of linguistic curiosities". Each page contains a descriptive story about some obscure or archaic word. It occurred to me it would be a fun exercise to try and write, each day, a poem featuring the "word of the day" from the book.

Thanks for reading.
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