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Fire, Destruction,
Friend and Foe,
Brave and injured,
Bombs, Guns,
Boom, Bang
Now the war has ended
There is no sound.

By Zoe Screti (age 9)

From Very Little to a Little Larger

I harwember u-hoo
    Rocaponi pudding
        Old lampshade
            Walter duck was in quite a flutter.
I’m the King-of-the-castle
    Get down you dirty rascal.
Push. Gravel hurtles forward. Laugh.
Jump up again.
Down a long dark lane.
Dark green arches.
Daddy shoveling snow from the path,
Run and help. Laugh.
Farm down the lane – big high walls –
Animals beyond –
Big white swans. Swans gone.
Flew away. Away from the ice.
Between the trees.
Big Boxer dog looking over the gate,
Looking over the gate at me.
Lillian and Janice – big girls over the road
Play. Cross-legged under apple trees.
In the back garden.
Toot, horn, lollipop mans van,
Penny for a lollipop. Red. Yellow.
In paper. Baby is too young.
Push him round in the pram.
Daddy comes home in grubby overalls.
Lifts me up high. Hug. Cuddle.
Move. Cottage. Ivy cottages.
Mrs Burfield next door.
Vonny came to stay
Fell in Mrs Burfields’s water-butt.
She has a goldfish and a mangle
And a picture of Little Red Riding Hood.
You can see the red coats and horns
And dogs from the window, if you stand on the chair
Quick. Get down. Shes coming. Ssssh.
Big Robins baa-lamb-like teddy bear
Run and show mummy.
And her daughter-hallowed silent upstairs,
Drawn curtains, Secret arrangement of bottles.
Perfume. Squeeze the bubble and spray
Comes out of the flowered china.
Ssssh – Vonnies cut herself – what on?
How should we know – rush to hospital.
Christmas – Nurses give us crackers.
From a box high-up on step – ladders.
Pretty colours. Cascade.
Splash water. Paddlepool. The Gables.
Climing frame. Children. Alex
Eileen, Pauline, Auntie Violet, Tony,
Rodger the lodger. Pub on the corner.
Plying Red Indians.
Pretty Auntie Pams lipstick
On our faces. Black eyeliner.
Ugh – you’ve got lumps all down your back!
- It's her Spine she says.
Low backed summer dress, black stilettos.
John comes to stay – Auntie Vi’s brother.
Took us looking at Melons in Finefare
Late-night Friday.
Adam and Eve and Pinch-Me
    Went down to the river to bade;
    adam and eve was drowned
    who do you think was saved?
Pinch Me.

By Jacqueline Berry

No Escape

A few times in our lives
We stumble into a place that entrances and entraps us…
Had we known the outcome of that moment,
Like a sensible person we might have tried to hurry away,
Coats pulled over our heads…half closed eyes firmly to the ground.

But of course the place has other plans.
Rubbing its hands together it gently tugs us,
A half open door,
The scent of cooking,
Gentle laughter…all contrive to pull at our senses.

We shuffle to a halt… poised on the brink of mindchange,
Hands flex nervously, feet yearning to retrace
As of course they will…as full well the place knows,
For it has played this game many, many times before.

A backward glance shows the door a little wider now.
The climbing plants hugging mellow bricks around the porch
Seem to rustle knowingly…
See… Here comes another one.
Maybe one more minute…wait and see.

The house sits waiting.
Craftily it sends the sound of voices through the open windows.
Twitches the curtains, revealing the tantalizing outline of a man,
Maybe a woman…no, a group of people secure inside
…a group it seems just waiting to be joined.

Perhaps there is still some choice…
The head insists that to admire the setting and the outline of the trees,
The pale new moon above the rooftop,
To listen to the early evening birdsong,
The rustling in the hedges… might suffice.

Perhaps to leave a small token in the porch, on the upturned
To be found later… after dark
When the house is closed up, will surely be enough.
But of course the heart says differently.

Sensing an easy victory, the house has turned on its evening
And now has lured new steps through its doorway.
Has enticed new eyes into its glowing interior.
Has seduced a new worshipper… just as it always knew it could.

And as it also knows
Once that move is made…
The darkness left behind, door pushed open, threshold crossed,
Eyes lifted into the lamplight and warmth felt…
There is no choice but love the place and the people lodging there.

By Nicola Hutchinson

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