Two leagues south from the knotted garden gate
a verdant ocean of occasionally cut grass
ebbed gently, to the main road – Stroud Road.
Upon such a swell one felt small, exposed, but never
adrift. We played football: full-blooded battles with no quarter given.
We played cricket: its mysteries revealed by an English castaway.
We played golf: Dad’s ‘borrowed’ iron, heaved like a cutlass,
with hands blistered and siblings pressganged as caddies.
On windy days, kites flapped and rippled like brightly coloured flags
on a mast. Some days we just rolled in the surf
or ran fore and aft, arms aloft,
as our jackets billowed like polyester sails.
Catapults could be fired like cannons, and jam jars,
jammed with bees, were detonated like gunpowder barrels
with a quick twist of the lid. We would run,
eyes closed and laughing: ‘Abandon ship!’