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Friday, 30 November 2012

The Mole


When I had grown too big
and too mature for pedal cars
but was in need of a new war machine
to take my troops (I was the King
of a fearful and a mighty army)
into the hidden depths
beneath the seemingly so solid earth,
I had this idea for a mole --
as I would call it -- a huge burrowing-
into-the-bowels-of-earth- machine.
As luck would have it
mother had a lightweight ringer going spare,
so with the help of nifty addings-on 
(the ringer being one) and nifty take-aways, my old
but very sturdy set of wheels, became
the object of my dreams -- and the envy of my friends.
The rollers from my mother's mangle
I aligned to point the way ahead --
but with the handle turning, they became
drill bits to cut through earth or hardest rock instead.

(years later, watching International Rescue  with my son, 
I'd tell him how the puppet masters
must have stolen my idea. I'd see that weary
Dad-is-off-again expression on his face.

The mole required a crew of six.
We burrowed into mountain sides and
excavated miles of tunnels;
built ourselves a rabbit warren of a base
that would defeat the cleverest enemy
and puzzle him to winkle my men out.
Then we discovered cities deep beneath the oceans;
were charged by herds of subterranean buffalo --
all of which we killed and salted down for food.
And from these tunnels we would sally forth to save the world.

The portal to this secret world, the old oak stump
behind the garden shed -- a false tree stump, of course.
Here sections of an air-raid shelter stood
and leaned against each other, overgrown
by brambles, vetch and moss and overhung by
elderberry trees my Granddad blamed 
for poisoning the ground. They leaned
at crazy angles dropping berries red and black - a sticky mess
we often found. This secret place
was more imagination than real garden space. From here
we burrowed into worlds that even we did not quite understand,
did not entirely relish, that made us partly glad
when meal times came around and thoughts of more hostilities 
were shelved for cake -- what passed for in those days
of post-war rationing -- or what 
the butcher found that week for us. 
........................................................
Written for the My Heart's Love Songs Make Believe prompt at Poetry Jam

16 comments:

Mary said...

I always love your poems of childhood, Dave, and the details you include. What an imagination you had then, and what is wonderful is that your imagination is still alive and well. You were also an in engineer, an inventor, an explorer, as well as a king......not to mention a typical boy who could be lured with cake. Smiles.

Rachna Chhabria said...

I just adore the poems of your childhood Dave. They transport me to another realm.

Loredana Donovan said...

This is wonderful, Dave. I love how you weaved in, amongst childhood imaginative play, vignettes about your mom, granddad, and your son. You also gave it historical perspective in your last stanza. A gem.

Daydreamertoo said...

Ahh.... I love this. Takes me back to my childhood days of huge adventures every day.
I love all the minute details in this from first, the idea taking shape, then the awareness of what you needed to build your 'mole' and then to actually getting the parts to make it.
A child's imagination is a wondrous thing. You turned this into a piece of magic.

Brian Miller said...

big smiles....excellent sir...i love stories of the fantasy of our youth....three was something pure in our imaginations....we are in many ways the same in this regard sir...very well writ...

Tatius T. Darksong said...

A good story, reading made me think of the childhood adventures I explored.

JANU said...

Nice imagination we all have as kids...but, your words are mesmerizing making it so visual.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Memory and imagination at one. I feel close to this...subterranean buffalos...great.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I love the retrospective nature of this particular post. Kudos on a wonderful poem!

aprille said...

Is a mangle a ringer for a wringer?
You're still the king, with an army of words and a mind full of happy ideas.
Tiddlywinks isn't dead.

The Elephant's Child said...

A brilliant trip down a memory lane I recognised as similar to my own. Thank you.

Dave King said...

Mary
Thank you so much for saying this. I think what imagination I had/have had its genesis in being so often confined to bed from ill health. It generated both my love of books and my attempts to invent when interesting books were in short supply.

Rachna
Thank you. As you must know, it's an incomparable joy when you can give some pleasure to others.

Loredana
Hi! and welcome to my blog. It's really good to have you visiting. A most sincere thank you for such kind words.

Daydreamertoo
Thank you for this. Childhood was a time of magic in many ways, a time of difficulty quite often, but always with the possibility of some quite magical relief. Shame we can't go back in time...

Brian
Yes, indeed, I think we are in many ways the same. It was an essential innocence, I think, which characterised our imaginations then. So difficult to recapture that!

Tatius
There is an essential similarity to such stories, don't you think? And yet each one seems unique -- at least, they do to me.

JANU
Thank you so much for your kind words - and for visiting my blog. It is really good to have you come aboard. You are spot on in your remark that we all have/had such imagination as kids. It's like child art - if only we could keep the magic of it going into adulthood...

Tommaso
Thanks for this. They were awesome, those subterranean buffalos!

Optimistic Existentialist
Hi! A warm welcomw to you. Many thanks for your visit and your kind words. Good to have them.

aprille
Love it! Yes, I guess it is at that! Thank you so much for a lovely comment (compliment).

The Elephant's Child
Yes, that's one of the aspects that are so good about childhood, how we cn always relate to them from our own. Thank you for saying.


Helen said...

So sweet, full of childish / boyish imagination ... love how you brought your own son into the story.

Ygraine said...

Your childhood poems are always so facinating, Dave. Such a wonderfully inventive mind you had!
I love the way you weave vivid detail into imagination's rich tapestry to create a landscape we all once inhabited.
Ahh, such fond memories :)

Margaret said...

we would sally forth to save the world.

Wonderful. And yes, I do think children can save the world :)

Peggy said...

What a wonderful description of a childhood imagining--and I would have loved your mole and gladly gone along with the crew!! Really enjoyed reading this and thanks for visiting my blog!