Monday, July 11, 2011

Poetry Jam: Summer Games

these were all-American games
we played when the last bell rang
and summer began, officially
that first breath of freedom,
honeysuckle warmed by the sun
we split time between---

---baseball, in the field with my brother
cousins, maybe a neighbor, as long
as we had enough, for three on three,
a pitcher, a catcher and someone to
chase the hits until sick with a stitch-
ed side & we'd switch positions, earning
old crushed coffee cans co-memorating
30 home runs, in one afternoon---

---and war, waged in the forest, forts
built to defend against each other or
COBRA, being real American heroes,
we'd lay traps, one of which sent a
sharpened stick through my calf, it
wasn't real until someone got hurt, but
we had medics who removed it and
patched me up before our parents
got wind ---

and when the sun set, we slept off
any angst, back to friends on the
morrow, but we were ready, in case
the Reds came, having watched Red
Dawn on the sly, during a sleep over
after everyone older went to sleep
so we kept eyes out for paratroopers

those were the imagi-Nation days, but
i wonder if kids in other countries play
similar, do they make elaborate plans to
repel the incursion & who it is they say
leads the invasion?

written for Poetry Jam & Magpie Tales

89 comments:

Mrsupole said...

Hey there!!!

Mrsupole said...

Not just across the land but across the generations. We all have probably done that and still as adults we do it in our dreams.

God bless.

Mrsupole said...

Should I go for three. I'll try.

Pat Hatt said...

Had to use ghost runners when I played baseball 2 on 2
Those ghosts can run I tell you
Be interesting to see how kids in other countries portray the invasion enemy for sure
Who will be the one parachuting in on their shore
The imagination can run wild
Although admittedly sometimes you only need to act like a child..haha

Gaston Studio said...

Splendid recounting of a part of your childhood Brian. And even as a female, I totally appreciate it because I played Cowboys and Indians in the nearby woods, much to the same conclusions. Wonderful writing, as usual.

California Girl said...

I wonder how much imagination is involved in play any longer. I worried about this with my sons, now in their early twenties. We scooted them outdoors ALL THE TIME because we did not want them glued to tv or X Box. It worked. They are both outdoorsmen with many interests. For that I am glad.

Heather said...

my girls can play all day . fight. make-up. laugh. giggle...- of course they are playing house and school - but i love seeing their little imaginations hard at work - happy monday!

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

I do worry that kids do not use their imaginations as much...too much TV/video games etc.

And...without imaginative play do we really develop and LIVE, explore...experience the grand adventures?

David Allen Waters said...

its hard to use the imagination when you are parked in front of a video game or computer screen mindlessly playing/chatting...

another great one friend

Maggie May said...

Our childhoods certainly seemed to be a lot freer than those of todays generation.
We had fun.... without it costing anything and imagination was a necessary ingredient.
Wonderful!
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

"i wonder if kids in other countries play similar, do they make elaborate plans to repel the incursion & who it is they say
leads the invasion?"


Hi! Brian...
What a good question to ponder..."indeed!"...Especially, as you just reflected on all the childhood games that you, your brother, cousins, and friend played...when the "honeysuckle was warmed by the sun.

[all I can think is fun,fun,in the sun...minus the minor childhood scrapes,cut,and bruises after reading your poem.

Hey! I just had a thought sometimes those minor injuring can "trigger" the reflection Of childhood memories...By chance were you looking at your calf this morning? lol]

Thanks, for sharing...I hope that you, and your readers have a great week too!
deedee ;-D

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

@To Mrsupole:
No#1...Oh! yes, you have to get that first comment in and it have to be..."short and sweet"...Because if you move [to slow...] you lose.

NO#2...Nice comment(s) too!

No#3 lol
deedee ;-D

ayala said...

My brother and I used to build forts out of sheets and pillows and we played cowboys and Indians. Nice write, thank you for taking me back to those times.

Eva Gallant said...

What a great poem! So many memories!

Valerie said...

Over here, too, where imaginations soared and dreams were made

Nancy said...

I love childhood.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

So patriotic

Myrna R. said...

Lovely memories. Though mine are different, thoughts of childhood adventures and friends are sweet.

TechnoBabe said...

People in other countries use this country for war enemies. Yikes.

tracy said...

I bet they do! When they aren't playing "Angry Birds" anyway. :-)

Everyday Goddess said...

i don't see kids running through yards anymore.

we've traded a lot for technology.

Betsy said...

fun memories.

saw a news story last year about kids in Iraq pretending to being rescued by US soldiers...because they lived it and saw it with their own eyes a few years back. :)

freeze tag, hide-n-seek, and riding bikes in a pack are what a remember....that and spying on the scary neighbor and letting our imaginations go wild. ha.

Cheryl said...

Imagination is still alive and well in kids whose parents take the time to kick them outdoors.

Luke Prater said...

Drawing out some pertinent sociopolitical issues using the innocence of childhood and games played; small pictures we can all relate to, in tackling the big topics, it's the to go

ed pilolla said...

i remember for days of war and fantasy, all born of the fear we were taught. fear is a national product, repackaged for each generation. before tv and radio, i think the population feared a whole less than we do since.

The Bug said...

I had such dreams after I watched Red Dawn for the first time! I dreamed that I was in one of those classrooms - it was pretty scary.

SandyCarlson said...

I wonder this, too. Is there something that has us thinking us versus them universally? Because those fractures within the group heal themselves, yet there is always the "them" out there.

happygirl said...

Oh the energy you had when you were a kid. You captured it. And, yes, in other nations they play football (soccer to you and me) all day, in the street. :)

Alan Burnett said...

I remember repelling hoards of German invaders perched on the top of the air raid shelter in the grounds of my Junior School in the early 1950s in England.

The Empress said...

How interesting to ponder.

Would children play and repeat something they must be so tired of.

So interesting.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Brian,

I enjoyed reading about the American games played by children.

In India we have our own games. We, as children, played gilli-thandu,flew kites,foot ball,marbles,pallam kuzi,kabbadi and so on. You may not have heard of some of these games.

Best wishes,
Joseph

Heaven said...

"those were the imagi-Nation days"

Nice word play... it brought back my growing up years with my brothers just doing that all summer long.

And no we didn't play baseball, but I joined in when we try hitting the old cans with stones. Now, all I see are kids playing it out in the arcades and screens. It looks more real, but I don't think these young kids know the kind of carefree fun we had before.

As usual, you ended your post with something for us to think about.

Happy Monday~

Sue said...

Red Dawn.

My sons' favorite movie of their youth.

(I never understood it!)

;)

Sue said...

PS. I think you have captured their childhood, except switch the baseball to basketball.

Mighty M said...

Watching my kids play like I once used to is such a treat. They have terrific imaginations - probably too good!

Fred said...

Brings back a whole bunch of memories. Baseball in the field where a police station once was, torn down and gravel mixed with grass. Really good memories. GI Joe, yep that too, I always liked Snake Eyes, and as far as Red Dawn- me and my buddy dan watched that movie so many times, in fact when we were both a bit older, he tried the old "gasoline" substitute, didn't work, had to call his dad.

lori said...

Oh, yeah, I grew up with summers like this, playing from sunup to sundown outside until one by one we heard our moms calling our names to come home. My brother and his friends used to play wiffle-ball. If I was lucky enough (usually when there weren't enough boys) they would let me in the game, lol :)

Trisha said...

fantastic poem brian. childhood memories always (almost) bring back the joy too :)

Kay L. Davies said...

I remember playing "war" when I was a child. Is war, then, in our chromosomes?
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

hedgewitch said...

I imagine we'd be shocked at who the other kids worry about. A little nostalgia, a lot of truth in your trip back to the games people play, childhood or otherwise. As girls, we jumped rope to cadence and meter and made-up songs--kids get down to the basics in play that we often let slip from our fingers as adults.

Margie said...

I used to play baseball with my brothers and sisters when I was a ayoung girl!
The best of times!

You also had some of those best times!
Wonderful poem!
Loved it!

Margie :)

Helen said...

This is enchanting and chock full of summer magic!

Ann Grenier said...

I like your ending to the story of all-American games: "who leads the invasion" a critical question to chew on these days. A timely poem, for summer, and state of the country and our world.

william said...

sounds like a great childhood memory mate, loved it,,

secret agent woman said...

And now I watch my son do the same, and I'm thrilled for him.

Baino said...

Being a kid from another country, yep, we played the same games. Perhaps not so preoccupied with the 'reds' but yes, definitely warm evening roleplay and sneaky movies.

Helena White said...

Oh the memories....Cowboys and Indians...marbles...hide and seek...snow forts...

"those were the imagi-Nation days"
Thanks for evoking such sweet memories Brian.

Daniel said...

Dude, we played the same games in my youth. But we played wiffleball with those thin plastic yellow bats. I also played at war too. I remember though at some point we moved to the neighboring town and I left those kids behind. When I visited home as a freshman in college, I remember driving to the grocery store with my mom. On the way in, we stumbled across a game of war. One participant was the popular kid from my old neighborhood. He was now nearly 20 and still was playing the same kid's game. It was kind of surreal and creepy at the same time.

ds said...

Nicely done. Who, indeed, leads the invasion?

wolfsrosebud said...

Perhaps Mom and Dad who set their bedtime. I also remembers I Spy, Red Rover, Kick the Can, and Red Light Green Light. I think it was before your days.

Natasha said...

Oh! Such fun! especially the baseball! Loved it when I was a kid...so much so I was the only chubby little girl on a team of ALL BOYS! Tell me I didn't learn strength at an early age :) Brought back memories with this one..thanks for that! Those were the days when life was really worth living! :)

Katherine said...

Oh isn't childhood a hoot! This was a wonderful little trip into your childhood memories Brian... love-love-loved-it! My childhood too was such an adventure! There were no technological distractions!

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

timeless :)

Deidra said...

A stick through the calf? Ye-ouch! Did it leave a scar?

We played with chalk and Matchbox cars - drawing entire neighborhoods on the street where we live and driving tiny cars to the grocery store and the bank and work and the other places we thought we'd like to drive when we were real adults.

Yes. I do wonder who the other children fight in their pretend battles.

Laurie Kolp said...

Fun times of yore, I'm afraid (b/c of electronics). You had me right there, Brian!

adeeyoyo said...

You know, it's sad, but I don't think kids play those sort of games any more. Computers have taken over their brains. They have no imagination or creativity any more.

Pat said...

I don't think kids play hard like this anymore. We used to play outside till the street lights came on. Things are so different nowadays!

CM said...

What wonderful memories! I'm sure you're introducing your boys to the "Summer Games" you played. Now, if it was so stinkin hot here so my boys could get out and play!

Margie said...

Brian,
102 degrees, that's way too hot!
Just read your comment and hope it's cooler there tonight.
Think winter, my friend!

Winter ...
I like bad weather, I
must admit
I always have lived in
the midst of it ...
I shout with the wind and
I roll in the snow
I'll never grow up while
there's winter
I know.

Stay cool!

Margie:)

kaykuala said...

A nostalgic rewind of the boyhood days which were similar but with minor local adjustments. The one about getting our little cuts and injuries mended before facing dad's strong scrutiny I can very well relate too!

Manda said...

You brought me back! Imagination and childhood... mine of fairies and romance. Yours was as my brothers... Hahaha

Tara Miller said...

What fun to remember the games we used to play as children. I remember a specific game my sister and I made up and used to play with the neighborhood kids... ;)

Just playing and letting ones imagination run wild is so important in the life of a child...it allows them to be just that...a child. So often nowadays kids don't go outside as much and just play all day. Sometimes I wish we didn't have all the technology we do. Glad our boys have QUITE the imagination and at least one of them enjoys being outside most of time anyway!

Victoria said...

This is so evocative, Brian. Even though I'm a couple of decades ahead of you (and a "girl") the "summer games" we played resonnated with yours. And right now, in the background, I'm sort of watching the homerun derby just to be spending a bit of time with the hubby. It's summer, for sure.

She Writes said...

It is the sad loss of childhood that we don't remain heroes. I miss the days of believeing.

I love the line about being true heroes!

KB said...

I remember playing outside all the time when I was a child. Doesn't seem to happen with many kids these days. Enjoyed your poem.

Eva said...

I'm sure they do play similar games. It's the human part of us. What's frightening to think is that we could possibly be on the other end of their battle.

Trish said...

Wow. Your words are from an adult, but your imagination is unfiltered, moving out into the world like a kid's. Beautifully done.

farmlady said...

I was the only girl in a neighborhood of boys. If I wanted to play I had to learn to play baseball, war and "hide and seek". I became very good and was rarely "It".
Good memories... brought by reading your poem.
Olly, Olly oxen free!

alivealwayz said...

That's an amazing ride and I'm glad I hoped along!
Childhood was a bliss, no planning and all play, a hefty ride.

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Lovely memories of childhood.

Anna :o]

Dave King said...

Gosh that takes me back a bit! Very well composed and great choice of content.

Martin H. said...

Like Alan, I was conscripted to be an RAF fighter pilot during play breaks in the mid-50s.

Goofball said...

euh we do not play baseball (or maybe with a youth group once but because we suck on it, we hit the ball with a tennis racket :p)

and we might not imitate COBRA and as a girl I never played army/invasion games



but yeah in general we also had our imagination games, selling mud pies to neighbours, digging harbours at the side of the road, taming caught bugs, doing police chases in the street and pasport controll stands, building villages & Indian tipis, crawling on our bellies through high grass and producing power drinks :)


ooooh I want to play outside again

blueviolet said...

I had the same kind of childhood. We were outside all the time making up games and running around. I wish kids today could experience what we lived!

Lorraine said...

it's so frigging wrong that those kids wars are real, the contrast between you ouchy play and reality is a killer...Intense and hurtful and brilliant as always

the walking man said...

Well done! I think depending on the nation they are more concerned with not losing a limb or eye to an explosive device more so than who left it.

AmyLK said...

Oh the memories of summer past! I love the way you write it. I was there with you!

Tess Kincaid said...

Thought provoking last stanza. Great piece, Brian!

Lyn said...

School's out and they let me play stick ball in the street with the boys because I could hit and run fast on my skinny minny feet...Thanks for the memories!

Daydreamertoo said...

You can sit for as long as you wish Brian.

Ravenblack said...

I remember my cousins playing such games, soldier, invasion, lets-get-our-soldiers ready. Re-enact stuff we saw from hollywood war movies. :) I don't know if kids these days play this way anymore, it might be all electronic now I guess.

chiccoreal said...

Brian: Remembering those youthful games as well..well spoken in truth..wonders how other kids in other countries play these immature and childish but fun at the time war games..second nature or intrinsic nature or de-nature?...lots to ponder. Thought-felt!

Claudia said...

haha...i missed hundreds of your poems...be assured.. kids in other countries do play similar - we used to...no i don't even start...got some work to do...smiles

barbara said...

This country was between "engagements" when I was at an age for playing war, so all I had were cowboys and indians. If there are kids in other countries as contrary as I was, in their hearts they want to be the indians.

Sue J said...

Takes me back to my childhood. I don't think we were ever inside all summer, no matter what the weather was like.
Nice Magpie.

Magpie said...

Memories brought to life and good questions. I'm playing catch up again.:)

Margaret said...

The out of doors, playfully exercising, imagination on high... those were the days. And I'm so glad I see it in my kids... not quite as freely as I had it.... This was a fun, fun take on the prompt.

mypoeticlicense said...

I love being brought back to memories of simpler times, when what was going on in the neighborhood was all that was going on. Thanks for making that happen for me with your words that flowed so comfortably.

- Dina

Syd said...

I remember well those fort days. We stormed the old confederate and revolutionary war trenches, not realizing what happened years ago beneath our feet.