Playtime Echoes


Flickr Image by M. Ribeiro

Flickr Image by M. Ribeiro

I drove past a playground the other day and was saddened as I noticed that there were no children playing. It was a beautiful day and there was not a child in sight, not even on a bike. It may have been the timing but it made me think of the contrast of my childhood. The first part of this poem are some of my wonderful childhood memories. I don’t really believe the last line of my poem but I do worry about future generations.

Heavy wooden swings
sailed above trampled dirt,
and thick metal chains twisted into spirally thrills.
Long silver slides latched on to
Jack and the Bean Stalk ladders
while fearless children climbed to castles in the air.
Cold grey jungle gyms amused monkey kids.
There we viewed our world upside down
and entertained kaleidoscope dreams.
Dragsters wore streamers and colourful flags
as pegged cardboard roared above road noise.
Big brothers revelled in building impressive billy carts
from scraps he’d collected at the local dump
while little ones watched on in anticipation.
On a good day he’d let you drive his masterwork down the hill
with its wobbly wheels and Fred Flintstone brakes.
Tonka trucks dug up back yards
and Matchbox cars drove on dirt roads made by small hands
as neighbourhood kids joined in.
Long ropes skipped over chants and rhymes
as swift feet mastered hot pepper rhythms.
Hopscotch and stones,
broken bones,
skinned knees.
Cops caught dirty robbers
with wooden guns.
What’s the time Mr Wolf
and what did Simon say when
Barbie and Ken threw hip parties
on the latest cardboard furniture?
Miniature houses with black and white chequered tiles
accommodated miniature dolls.
Baby dolls slept quietly in pretty cradles
as mothers drank sugared water
in tiny pink floral China tea sets.
Home-made mud cakes were a delectable treat
that fed innocent fantasies.
Board games ruled and property overlords were born.
Twisted manoeuvres sent everyone reeling
until we nearly peed our pants.
A ball and a wall entertained a child,
and the adventures of The Secret Seven
occupied young minds on a rainy day.
Bliss.

Lonely swings sway
in the quiet breeze,
like an apocalypse has changed the world.
Unsunned kids sprawl on unmade beds
experiencing life through a screen;
sharing a soulless future.

Copyright © January 2013 Norma Martiri

Linked to OpenLinkNight – Week 78 at dVerse Poets Pub

dragster bike

I loved my dragster bike

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29 responses to “Playtime Echoes

  1. Every thing about this poem speaks of my age and childhood memories. Ahhh, and I love it!! But unfortunately as Dennis stated, modern tech has taken over. It can be a beast when it comes to “real” fun and excitement. Thank you for this wonderful poem.

  2. it does good to point out a reality which is that kids play outside less these days consumed with electronics…funny i just wrote the other day about an empty park…part of it is the season, here…spring will come and so will the families but there are still many who never will…

    • It’s summer here Brian and the parks should be full especially in the cooler part of the afternoon but sadly they’re not. It makes me wonder where it’s all going. Sad.
      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  3. Wow, have you spoken truth here. Funny sometimes how when one reads someone else’s poem it causes a lot of though. I know I used to play outside morning until night. It was ‘safe’ for us to ride our bikes to parks (with no parents accompanying) and play, and our parents knew we would return (no cell phones for contact) and didn’t worry. I must say that in good weather I take my granddaughter to the park MOST days. We switch off parks, and I usually try to find a park where there are other children so they can play together…..and granddaughter loves this. Depends on the time though…before lunch is a good time & later afternoon. Some times of the day there is no one….and all children in parks now are accompanied by watchful parents or grandparents. I enjoyed your poem, your memories, your reflections.

  4. what lovely childhood memories..and ugh…yes…way too many kids stay inside with their computers and tv instead of playing outside…sad…

  5. Norma, I’m with you on this. So many alternative experiences for kids now it seems like they are doomed to stiffle their imaginations. Like you, I grew up with few “toys” and so many wonderful memories. I sound old, don’t I?

    • Thanks Victoria. I loved playing with Barbie and I only had one or two and we made all their furniture out of cardboard and shoe boxes and some clothes because there were too expensive to buy back then. They were simple times! 🙂

  6. My two oldest daughters are always busy. I pickup my Grand-boys and take them to the park. I always took my kids to the park. People are too busy today to enjoy the simple pleasures. I enjoyed the story.

  7. You’ve brought back my childhood, matchbox roads, shoebox houses and furniture, and it’s amazing how many abandoned playgrounds there are now…that’s where we would all meet and yet even as I say it, I’d be worried if my eleven year old was there on his own now…how frightened have we become. Thoughtful poem Norma that gets me thinking on all sorts of things… 🙂

    • Thanks for the lovely compliment. Things have changed so much. We never had our parents around when we played. We used to go off for most part of the day but I agree with you, I never let my kids do that. Another thing we had was simplicity. The playgrounds were boring compared to today but there were always kids around. Thanks again 🙂

  8. Well done! I remember rolling old tires around as a kid. No only did we develop our motor skills but we were recycling used rubber into great toys for all our friends to share. Thanks for the follow. Be well.

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