On The Soft Landscape Of Childhood
young children always regard deprivation
as being caused by their own inadequacies
to peer deeply, deeply inwards
into misty bromide images,
the mind’s eye hesitates
as it struggles to track through
fifty years of stored strife,
for it also becomes painfully aware
of its own humble beginnings.
A small boy is crouching in solitary play
on knees scuffed by awkwardness,
eagerly chuckling to himself,
engrossed in fantasies,
with forced, irregular breaths,
cursing Kaiser and Hun,
he sucks in inaudible words.
On the soft landscape of childhood,
the long, red patterned hall carpet,
Monty’s “Desert Rats!”
Glorious and victorious,
are in action to save the day again.
Large glass Challenger tanks
are launched to clink and scatter
Rommel’s advancing array
of broken toys.
The cogged German cotton reels
jerked forwards by twanging elastic
midst mutterings of explosions,
screams, and ricochets,
and aimed with impartial deceit,
founder into upturned wrecks
on tufted curled edges of the desert.
Risking court martial,
and execution by firing squad,
his older brother’s Meccano size 5
has been appropriated for the war effort.
Green metal plates, yellow flanges,
brass pinions, pullies, and wheels
are rapidly plucked out
as, drawing in excited breaths
to repeatedly halt a running nose,
his fumbling fingers rush
to bolt together
invincible contraptions of war.
He knew he could last three shouts
from when Mother first called
“Come and eat your tea!”
Tired, the war is rapidly won.
All the British survive,
and he retires honourably
from the untidy battlefield.
He had fought bravely,
tried to be a boy to be proud of.
But, his father,
never came home from the war.
© gothicman 2017