T D Mitchell


A Day in the Life of a Boy


We were friends Peter, you and i
and as children we crossed the world and worlds
of magic and mystery under an azure sky
We went adventuring with catties in our pockets
and a goodly supply of stones
With stout stick held in our hands
we vanquished all our foes
drove off all the enemies
even though we were all alone
but we strong in dreaming
and our imaginations broad
it was very rare that we were ever bored.
One day we went adventuring across the fields green
until by chance we lighted on
a land we had never seen.
a magical place of hills and mounds
bushes and of gorse
The features were of perfect size for 6 year olds to play
so we spent some wonderful hours imagining
leaping 'cross hill and dale
ducking, dodging, diving
Who was with us on that day? wee Jamie i recall
you Peter and there was me
Three valiants with our backs to the wall
Was there someone else do d'you know
it has slipped from my mind
i vaguely think there was
for we had split into two armies and 3 split into
two does not seem right.
We also found upon that day a rubbish tip of joy
full of things for boys to fossick in with glee.
But the imp of mischief was there too
as we recalled our matches
so we lit some stuff and before we knew it
wildfire roared like a fire breathing dragon
as the wind blew strong carrying the fire along
and the valley of garbage blazed like a tongue
of fire across the earth.
Then to our greater horror came out of the smoke he came
a man with a rifle who called us
what have you done he called
who did this he called
not us we replied as though there were unseen others
who had lit the fire and scarpered
leaving us to cop it sweet.
'i'll tell your parents, ' this stranger cried
adding to our woes and this seemed worse
than the threat that he might shoot us with his gun
he might shoot us for setting the flames
that were roaring up the man-made gully
fanned by an eager wind.
But all he did was send us running
and that was the end of that game
though for after we worried still
there would be a knock at the door
from policeman standing cuffs in hand to take us all away.

As we made our way back home we found caught in a fence
the remains of a bird, a large white bird
though of feathers there were few
it's skeleton was all that was left held together
by black strings of sinew
Our imaginations caught fire again
as we conjured up a new game
A religion and i well recall its name
The Religion of the Blue-tailed Budgery Bird
this was a brand new path.
We created a funeral pyre of leaves, of grass and sticks
and placed its corpse upon the heap to rest
then chanting things we lit the pyre and
sent its soul to the Sacred West.
The pyre burned low and finally went out
so we buried the ashes in the Earths warm ground.
Dust to dust and ashes to ashes
Yet we had never heard even heard those words
to be repeated many times in ensuing years.
Funny how young children seem to
instinctively know what to do
as we showed respect to the life now gone.

What followed then over hours and days
was we poured all that we could
as we formed our new religion
and saw that it was good.
There were high priests and ceremonies solemn
which we created with intense and serious face
though i have to say and suspect it still
that there was lots of glee.
Even days and months we did rename
We even wrote it down
though all that's left are scraps of
memory in my head.
It was a day like no other filled
as it was
with happiness, excitement and fear
So much so that i recall much even with the
passing of the years.

Submitted: Friday, September 20, 2013
Edited: Saturday, September 21, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

A 'cattie' is a rural Lancashire name for a catapult, also known as a 'shanghai' is Australia, and a 'slingshot' in the USA.

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