Tag: childhood

Fly free, fly high

Today’s Daily Prompt word Silhouette triggered nostalgic memories of Lotte Reiniger’s stop-go animations, often shown on television when I was young. High-tech they weren’t – but exquisitely expressive nonetheless.

Exotic folk tales like The Arabian Nights always awakened my imagination, instilling a  love of escapism that found a later echo in sci-fi and fantasy. The magic was in the reading, however. I sometimes found illustrations disappointing and often felt that TV and film versions were crass and clunky. Between page and picture something had disappeared.

But these little animations have a tremulous, gentle delicacy that somehow preserves the dreamlike appeal of traditional stories. Here is one I particularly remember. Second childhood, perhaps, but the older I get the more I find myself returning to such sources of innocent pleasure …

doncha know the feeling

know the feeling
      slumping in your chair like a 
      dumpling when 
breezes in the chimneybreast
begin to whisper of
somewhere                        anywhere
                when you have
no wish to turn on your television
as the world they bring 
is not your             own 
& now you are suddenly 
    nowhere                     everywhere
hearing on the wind      in the flue 
             a world that draws you 
                                cooing doves &
                                cries of children &
                                cars swishing by
   wish to open the jailhouse door
   walk free with
   no particular place
        to go but out                                     & away

know the feeling  
                      from way back when those
                      grumpy grownups growled
                      get lost &
               doncha come back before dusk

     never the same road twice 
                 when you & your best friends
                 walked & walked until you reached 
                           those unknown hedges
                                         hidden byways to a
                           world you had never been
                             tree trunks never climbed
                                   faces never seen
                         streams you had never dammed
                         streetnames you never heard
     whole estates of footballers
                      explorers & 
           recall how full it felt to
           return at dusk with treasure trove
                               a strip cartoon of images
                               drawn from a Brilliant day
                 when you'd wandered in a novelty
      fresh pastures glimpsed but once though
            present   still & steady yet for
            future days as souvenirs of
                   days gone by &
                      still to be that
                               boy or girl you were &
                      still to see whatever's new &
                      still to     walk free with                                            
                                              no particular place to
               doncha still                   go out          & away

Image result for walk to get lostOlive Branch & Co


100 word story (#6)

And so I come to the end of my little story sequence – or perhaps, sequence of little stories.

I’ve enjoyed the challenge of cramming a quart into a pint pot. Said it before but I find self-imposed constraints paradoxically liberating. Restricting word-length, making thematic connections and fitting in prompt words all seem to narrow down the possibilities – help stop me agonising over ‘Why this rather than that?’ and other pusillanimous quibbles!

Anyway, here’s the final offering after a little poetic preamble:

My tree is gone, a crow’s nest lost in space
Though found in time: perspective ever mine!
One way the church, its harvest festival
Just beans in tins and withered leaves on stone.
Another way the wood, its tangle wild
Forbidden fruit: temptation to a child …

We trod the hero-path to gold: a glint of treasure in each flower. Up every tree was knowledge without a fall. We knew the wood was ours, though shared with many children seldom seen. We saw their little marks, soon overgrown.

But these were nothing to the wounds we saw one sunny morning. Through trees, a glow brighter than sunshine. The first pool held a metal barrel, half-submerged, leaching luminous chemistry into living water. Every Leaf in the glade a ghastly day-glo yellow. The next pool awash with purple. The last pool acid green.

Too much information: cruelty, criminality, careless indifference.

Image result for polluted water

Image: Green Living – LoveToKnow

100 word story (#3)

Two brothers: one shilling.

A sign: Change Given!

Twelve pennies: six in each tight grasp.

What’s Father always saying? Speculate to accumulate.

They part company:

the Confident One to bright lights and siren sounds, flashing buttons and levers galore, where cylinders spin and robot-hands pretend to grab toys;

the Tentative One to a dark room edged with silent cabinets, boxes of delight, diorama dreams: butcher-shops, bedrooms, cowboy-saloons, operating-theatres, schoolrooms, cemeteries. The penny drops: dogs steal sausages, ghosts appear, gunfights erupt, surgeons wield machetes, paper-planes fly, skeletons grin from graves.

Both emerge empty-handed but who has, nonetheless, added to his stash?


Image result for old pennies


Image: Pinterest

100 word story (#2)

Glorious, darling, that sudden vista! – his mother’s telephone voice, of course, but why up here? Was she haunting him? If she found out he’d climbed a tree so high, she’d have kittens! The clifftop-walk above Shanklin – Children, away from those railings!


Image result for sandown to shanklin cliff top walk


Other voices, real this time, petulant as mice. He glanced down between his toecaps: three tiny heads, his tormenters, bickering amongst themselves. Drop a nut, whispered another ghost, surprise ’em! 

But he would keep this to himself: no vainglorious boasting … though victory nonetheless. Every step a triumph over terror!

Up here – if nowhere else – he was untouchable, unreachable, invincible.



Image: Shanklin

100 word story (#1)

After a morning monkeying with minor royals he stumbles across the king of trees, one branch within reach if only he can jump and clasp hands … swing legs up to lock around  it, body hanging … muscle his way up to kneel and stand, peering up through leaves to judge distances between handholds.

But first he must wade through nettle-beds ringing the monarch like a praetorian guard.

And when his head breaks through the crown, ah, such a realm – sky, clouds, treetops, towns, far-distant hills!

In years to come even the Sting of his bare legs is part of the glory.


Image result for looking up at trees


Image: All-free-download.com

Life Sentence

A child discovers wonders every day
And paints a golden picture of his world,
As stepping-stones to island haunts make way
For archipelagos and tales untold.
O where can he belong who seeks from birth
The answers to all questions – keys of mind
To treasure-chests of truths – but here on Earth
In free and equal friendship with his kind?
Though walls arise imagination soars
Beyond their shadow to a sunlit land
Where smiles greet strangers, sorrow opens doors
And dreams come true by popular demand.
The child I was once painted this in gold
And will not let me rest now I am old.


I’ve written this sonnet to try and encapsulate some of the themes that have been swirling around my three previous posts, best read in sequence – Art Attacks # 1,2 and 3. Probably tried to cram in too much but, heigh-ho, you only live once!


Image result for child in meadows


Image: EnviroMat