For my Children ~

One of the most satisfying things about being a mother is having your kids play out freely in the sunshine all day long, where they can have themselves great and wondrous adventures and play magical make-believe games. Mucky and wild outdoor adventures are an endangered pastime, at risk of extinction by the growth of electronic products, multi-choice TV, the internet and parental over-protectionism. So this is my attempt to recapture the purity of kids at play. My middlie put her stamp of approval on it and encouraged me to publish, stating that she still believes in fairies, she made daisy chains with her friend the other day and just this morning she played on the tree swing across the road from our house with her brother. So there!

Days of Endless Funshine

No batteries required. Risk assessments forbidden. Imagination essential.

To the Young Girls

Skipping through the long grass. Linking arms and chattering about nonsense. They reached the little stream lined by birch trees and bramble bushes. They picked berries and waited for the faeries. They spotted two tiny silver wings fluttering among the shadows of the bushes and another two behind the rocks that formed stepping stones across the water. They gasped and made wishes. They held out their upturned hands hoping the enchanted faerie folk would come out to meet them. But the faeries were shy and made quick their leave when they saw the girls become distracted by the bright yellow butterfly that would lead them to the palace. They followed the butterfly up the banking and out into the meadow where they both dropped into the long grass. Ladybirds tickled their limbs as they sat and made endless daisy chains, one for each wrist and a crown each for their heads – Princesses for the day. They remembered the empty matchboxes in their pockets. They took them out and filled them with grass. They popped two ladybirds in each one to take home and keep forever but the little spotty beetles just wouldn’t be trapped and they crawled right out of the air holes that the girls had made previously with pencils. Dandelion clocks were used as microphones when the Princesses became pop idols but the seeds were too light and airy and blew away with all the shaking. The pop idols were young girls again and threw themselves onto the ground. They rolled down the grassy verge and giggled till they couldn’t stop at the vibrating sounds their shouts were making as each part of their body hit the ground. They landed clumsily at the bottom and led panting in the grass, squinting up at the blue sky. They rested, content and care-free – all the time in the world. They were immortal. They told each other their dreams while the birds sang nearby. When they got up, the birds flew away to deliver their dreams to the faeries. They strolled home together in comfortable silence, picking buttercups along the way and doing the butter test on each other. But the chatter was gone. No words were necessary. Best friends forever.

For the Young Boys

The two buddies charged down towards the stream, pockets armed with survival tools and food rations. They fought through the bramble bushes and the nettle jungle with their swords made out of twigs. They fished for newts with their nets and discovered frog spawn between the rocks. They agreed to come back next week to see if it had turned into tadpoles. After carefully lodging the net handles between the rocks and placing the nets into the water so that the captured newts wouldn’t die, they ran off downstream. Stepping stones are not needed for these brave warriors. They kicked water at each other and laughed out loud. They even managed to dodge the jaws of twenty-eight killer crocodiles while fending off the dragons that were attacking from above. They charged into the meadow where they found two huge snorting black stallions waiting for them. They mounted the magnificent steeds and galloped at full speed across the meadow. They had horse-back sword fights with their twigs and took turns at being the baddie. After slaying all the evil horsemen, they rode in silence through the eerie wilderness until they came upon an ancient woodland. The horses grazed while the boys played on an abandoned tree swing and swung themselves into space and back. As they swung up into space, they spotted an alien spacecraft spinning towards them so they ran for cover, loaded all their space-weapons and waited in ambush. The spacecraft crash-landed and a slimy green body crawled out of the port, gasping its last breath before the boys could reach it. Maybe they will dissect it later but for now, it’s time for a game of footie. They retrieved their ball from under the railway bridge and argued over who should be Fernando Torres. Six goals and a penalty shoot-out later, their tummies told them it was time to head off for home. Hot and hungry, beloved football tucked underarm, they whistled and marched all the way home, their only concern being what they were going to have for supper. Buddies for life.

And as a mother, it’s so rewarding to have your kids come in from a hard days play . . . sticky and hot, mucky and tired, sun-kissed faces full of freckles, and scrubbing them in a hot bath full of sweet smelling bubbles until they glow with health. Then, after watching them hungrily gobble up their supper, they climb into clean pyjama’s before curling up on the sofa to read a book that doesn’t finish because they’ve fallen fast asleep half way through.


8 responses to this post.

  1. […] Original post by Technorati Search for: poetry […]


  2. Yes. Out of bright imagination women and men of lustre children will become. Imagination is something on the brink of being lost these days when the entertaining means at the disposal of parents and children are doing away with the most essential of our assets: that which is not imbued into our brains, that that is privy to our self and which so often we are loath to share with anybody.

    Good for you, Earthpal.


  3. Now, you have captured the I feel that way about imagination :). It was the most valuable toy I had, when I was a kid. I walked down the little alleys of my childhood as I read this :).


  4. Imagination indeed!

    My parents hardly ever saw me. Building huts and playing imaginary games me thinks.

    Parents also need their kids to go off and play so they get a break to do other things.

    London can be tricky though I’m afraid. One of the local 10 year old nasties tried to entice my 4 year old son to hand over his football recently, by claiming it was his own. The little shit. So unfortunately we still have to be awares.

    But I understand the sentiment.


  5. Jose, kids don’t read novels enough these days in my opinion. They just watch the movie instead. And electronic games have replaced healthy outdoor fun.

    Mysoul, hi. I’m glad it was reflective for you. Me too.

    Matty, yes, I was out all day too in the Summer holidays. Pretty much like the girls in my little story. I know what you mean about trouble though. It’s hard to balance their protection with the freedom to go off and explore. Especially in recent months with the grim knife attacks on kids, by kids.


  6. In the Days Of the Pinkest Shades Of Clover
    by Helen Losse

    We climbed the lookout tower
    that Daddy built, hugged a
    branch of the Mulberry Tree,
    ate its purple berries,
    sat barefoot stringing beads

    on a blanket in the yard
    under watchful nose of Mrs. Ross’s
    maid, then dripped
    chocolaty pudding pops, cooled our-
    selves in the water from the hose
    or the wading pool,
    where Michael leaned to swim—

    knit together, purled to a daisy chain,
    living our days
    in the pinkest shades of clover—

    so that later roaming the hills
    near the Cabin next to Spring River,
    we clambered over
    sloping limestone rocks and
    small, blue cedars, and we knew
    why Mum had said, “One can, all can”
    is the only fair way, among siblings.

    first published in Red River Review


  7. Thanks Helen. Lovely, lovely.


  8. Great BBC article here that compliments my sentiments. Six weeks of free time for our kids. How will they entertain themselves?


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