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Thursday 21 February 2013


Not Yanks.
ant that.) Can-
adians, so Gran
impressed on us.
Our distant
cousins come
to fight our war.

John showed me
how to load
and fire his gun.
Alan shared a
Something for
the peace, for when
the war is over.

A frog. Red
bands and black,
a rugby
football shirt.
Eyes, hands and
feet all black --
strange I remember
that! And deadly
poisonous. An arrow
poison frog. American.
(Ooops, sorry gran!)

And did the Indians
boil these
for poison for
their arrow tips?

They did.
And he
the fearful and
obnoxious deaths
the frogs endured.

The way the
colours ran
in boiling froth;
the way the skin
would bubble up
like chewing gum...
That's probably enough:
Guess which
distant cousin
held me most
in thrall!

Written for Peggy's prompt, Stripes at Poetry Jam


Mary said...

Ha, Dave, I can only imagine how enthralled you were by Alan's stories. He really knew how to invoke a boy's imagination!

I always enjoy your tales of back then, Dave. Keep them coming as often as possible.

Mary said...

I just linked your poem to Poetry Jam, Dave.

HisFireFly said...

former Yank, now Canadian ;-)

poor little frogs...

Brian Miller said...

ha...nice....great end breaks....and i was enthralled....and would be of the exotic tales...everything is so much bigger too when we were kids as well...and our imagination running wild....

Laurie Kolp said...

The way the
colours ran
in boiling froth;
the way the skin
would bubble up
like chewing gum...

I am amazed by that, too... such beauty!

Susan Lindquist said...

There is such a great cache of boyhood memories here ... fond and titillatingly horrid ... just what a young boy would be enthralled by! Excellent write!

anthonynorth said...

A great memory.

alan1704 said...

I've always had a soft spot for Indians and stories, one for the imagination

Helen said...

We all benefit when you reach back in time and share a memory ... this one is no exception.

Ygraine said...

Can't help but feel for those poor little frogs!
You must have been enchanted by those tales, Dave. Any young boy would be.
I love reading your boyhood memories. You've led such an interesting life!

A Cuban In London said...

Loved it. Yet another wonderful snippet into your past. Many thanks. Hmmm... so, not Yanks, uh? :-)

Greetings from London.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I love the way your memories influence a lot of your poetry.

Peggy said...

I can see why you were enthralled by this relative of yours! Oh but those poor frogs, You convey the fascination of a boy in this. Thanks for sharing it.

Cressida de Nova said...

Little boys love gory stories..big boys too:)

Wayne said...

nicely done Dave....thanks for sharing

Dave King said...

Unfortunately it didn't last long, but that's another story, whcih I might relate some time!

Thanks for linking again! Looks like I might have to sign you up as my agent!

Highly welcome then twice over! Thanks for making yourself known.

Yes, and he had this knack of pulling rabbits out of some invisible hat as he told his tales.

Thanks Laurie. Much appreciated.

Thanks, and you are absolutely right. I think he and Edgar Alan Poe stand side by side as co-releasers of my infantile imagination.

Thanks. Appreciated.

Me too. Until a very late age I lapped up the Westerns on T.V. . I thought there was more religion in a good Gun Law than a poor sermon.

This is a really lovely thing to be told. Thank you.

Thanks for these comments. Strangely enough, I think it was probably the long periods of poor health I had as a boy that unlocked things for me, pushed my interests and imagination in directions they might not have gone had I had A1 health.

A Cuban in London
There was an awful lot of prejudice back then. I encountered it all the time, not always recognising it for what it was, it was so universal. The Yanks, the Welsh, The Jews, The Germans (understandably, of course), Roman Catholics.

Optimistic Existentialist
Thanks for the observation. All feedback is grist to the mill.

Yes, I felt for the frogs, of course. That was part of the horror.

Cressida de Nova
True, Oh, so very true!

And thanks for commenting. Good to have your thoughts.

Margaret said...

stories like those would be hard to forget! Great memories.