poetry and art BY CAROLINE STREET
A poem by Caroline Street
While strolling along the bank of a river
On a cool autumn morning,
Warmly wrapped against the breeze,
And kicking up the heaps of leaves,
I was drawn to the gentle sway of a swing,
Hanging from a sturdy branch
Of a gnarled bushveld tree.
Time stood still, as I recalled
Memories from the past,
Etched with a faint sense of gloom.
Echoes of green, grassy parks
And neglected playgrounds;
The jubilation of carefree youth.
And there, tugging at my heart is the swing;
An insignificant piece of board,
Attached by a rusty chain,
For everyone's joyful gain.
An icon of childhood;
In the recesses of my mind
The swing has forever stood.
Thoughts of euphoric children
With ponytails and red-apple cheeks,
Exhilarated by the freedom of movement;
This is the amusement they seek.
With bright eyes
They catch their breath,
Shrieking for another push -
Eagerly reaching for the sky -
They want to feel that whoosh!!
The bullied child takes refuge on the seat,
Tears of disillusion streak his face;
His body language spells defeat.
Covered in dust with a bloodied nose
And confusion from a recent brawl;
Does no one care at all?
A downcast, overweight lad
Wishes he had a playmate,
He scuffs his shoes on the broken tarmac
And wonders why he is always alone;
The swing is no fun when you are on your own.
With shoulders hunched, he ambles off
To buy another ice cream cone.
Children now grown, stop by
Often in times of contemplation,
Still drawn to this childhood recreation.
Revisiting the memory of their carefree years:
The heart-warming rhythm,
A few minutes of familiar pleasure -
Only to discover the emptiness of this
Altar of youth.
Through all seasons, under the sun
The ever twinkling stars, the swing is swung;
A memory in the making for the young.
Once the playground is abandoned,
The swing, constant in its motion
Moves gently to and fro,
As if touched by a ghostly hand
Beckoning the passer-by to take a seat
And feel its dreamy tempo;
That familiar beat of youth one more time.❤