Posts Tagged ‘playing’


we played out on streets
full of laughter and joy
sun high in the sky
playing games long forgotten
tig, kerbie, hide and seek
we had no cares or worries
life was simple, a pleasure
till the pop man came round
his smoky old wagon
slowly crawling onto our road
for a second everyone stopped, looked
and then the streets swarmed
with children running home
desperate to get the empty pop bottles
and get the 1p back on them
so they could get more pop
and another sugar rush
to get them through the afternoon


The Valley becomes our playground, our home. We go down there everyday after school, at weekends, every spare minute we have we play down the Valley. We play war games, hide and seek, anything we can just so we can be down the Valley. I get to know every inch of the Valley, all the trails, trees and embankments. I can still remember it now as it was when I was a kid. It’s changed now, all filled in just a big grass field. The Valley was special and still is. I wish I could play there one more time.


Paul is my first friend on Holmewood. We play in the street and on the green, have fun. Paul moves to Cornwall. I never see him again. Malcolm is my next friend. There’s a group of us all playing and having fun. One day I go to Malcolm’s house. His sister looks at me and tells me to leave. She gives no reason. I don’t know why, don’t understand. Maybe she knows something I don’t. I never see Malcolm again.

Chris is my next friend. He’s older than us and the leader of our gang. We play down the valley, jumping over streams, hide and seek, crawling in tunnels, running on trails. I’m enjoying life, having fun with friends, playing with no worries, no fears, no regrets.

More new friends on Holmewood. Paul, Colin and Peter. It’s the summer of 1973. We play football all day and all night. I’m me, I’m free. I’m enjoying life. Food, friends, freedom. Everything I want and need right now. Life is perfect.


We move again. Not far. To Holmewood council estate. It’s a big house with 3 bedrooms and gardens front and back. I like this house. I feel safe here, happy. It’s a new start for all of us. New jobs for mum and dad, new school for me, my sister has moved out. I fly a kite with my dad on the field near my house. I’m having fun.


I’m at a house, it might be mine, it might not. We have a visitor a woman. My mum and her are talking, I’m playing with my toys while they talk. I go near the woman’s feet, they bare, naked. This is my first memory of bare skin. I’m nervous, apprehensive about approaching her feet, touching her bare skin. Something inside me tells me to stop, to not touch, to not stare, to go back to playing with my toys. Bare skin is bad and should not be touched.


i remember my lego bricks
boxes and boxes of them
different shapes, sizes and colours
some were round
others had wheels
i built everything /span>
from houses to skyscrapers
cars to concorde
tanks to battleships
i even built a planet
entirely from lego bricks
the only thing i did not
build was a wall


you first came to my house
ran to the cellar, a blur
disappeared into the darkness
made it your home for weeks
one day i saw you
for the first time ever
as you walked out the door
left, forever i thought…
days later you came back
i was the chosen one
who would be looking after you
climbing trees with ease
faster than a shooting star
playing in sun
sleeping in snow
chasing mice for fun
birds a present for me
fights with Jodie
who will sleep on my knee
you enjoyed life
as queen of the street
growing older you
slow down preferring
cuddles to fights
getting softer with age
i believed you would
live forever
but the day came
when your body
could take no more
as you wrapped your paw
around the tip
of my finger
purred one last time
said goodbye daddy
i knew it was your time
to go to Rainbow Bridge
to play with Jodie
and the other
cats and dogs
just the way
you did when you
was young
furever
 


playing out on the street
on a summers day
sun high in the sky
games of tig, kerbie, hide and seek
no-one had a care or a worry
life was simple
till the pop man came round
alpine was our favourite
for a second the streets swarmed
with children running home
desperate to get the empty pop bottles
and get the 1p back on them
so they could get more pop
and another sugar rush
to get them through the afternoon


remembering my father who would

fashion a rifle for me

from any old block of wood

carved and sanded down to

look like the Lee Enfield

he fought with in WWII

copper piping for a barrel

a nail for the trigger with a

rusty hinge for a guard

off i would go to fight a

war where no-one got hurt

no-one got injured

no-one got killed and

we all returned with

limbs, eyes, brain intact

no need for crutches or wheelchairs

as we ran through the

valleys and woods that were our

battlefields, hiding behind bushes

climbing trees, leaping streams

jumping embankments before

we conquered the black hill

as we played out our war

with wooden weapons

the only scars we gathered

when we fell and cut our knees and palms

as we ducked make believe bullets

that never fired or hit and we

swore blind we had never been shot

even though we hit our target a mile away

how brave we felt playing our

pretend wars with weapons of wood

that never hurt anyone

and now i look back

and think how all wars should be fought this way

until exhausted from a day’s playing and running

you go home for tea and a telling off from mum

and after a good night’s sleep

you are ready to fight another day

in the only war our young minds understood

and our only fear was the telling off from our

mother’s if we were late home


the valley of my memories that started from a

single pipe, too dark to see beyond its mouth

too small to climb in and explore its stomach as it

spewed forth its watery contents

 

into the valley of my childhood

always moving fast in the same direction

through parts narrow and parts wide

as the sides of the valley rose and fell

 

running with the stream as

we played in its bowels

day after day after day

as the sunshine warmed wet pebbles

 

where it never rained or snowed

so we could build dens to hide in

as friends ran by seeking us

pretending to be brave soldiers

 

leaping over the narrow parts and

jumping from the highs to the lows

flying through the air like

peter pan, if only for a second

 

landing in a heap on stones

that cut and grazed our knees

our only scars of war

this was as brave as we got

 

and then the valley ended

disappearing into a tunnel

one we could crawl into

see into, no secrets in here

 

and we got through to the other side

to a dark place we did not recognise

this was not our playground

we did not belong here

 

so we would turn around and leave

this desolate place behind and

return to our valley, the valley

of a never ending childhood

© Andrew Smith 2014