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A Small Boy Excited

Mick slinks slyly into our shelter
Mongrel ears have heard the drone
Then sirens howl and after
We hear what Mick has heard alone
A small boy excited

Recognise the Junkers, Heinkel or Dornier
Whilst scrambling for the shelter
Flattened ears, fur and rolling eyes
Warm blanket encouraging reassuring lies
A small boy excited

Silver paper enemy bombers shower
To confuse the British radar
Malleable, shiny and good for sculptor
Gathered into shiny snowballs to enrapture
A small boy excited

Crump, crump a house has gone
Crump, crump there's another one
Shivering not from cold
Mom and dog if truth were told
A small boy excited

Tracer bullets past the window
A small boy running to see
Yanked back a mother's smack
The boy struggling to be free
A small boy still excited

Shrapnel through the kitchen door
Plaster showering o'er the floor
Tracer bullets piercing a shed so near
Another siren sounding the all clear
A small boy excited

Emerging dog shaking imaginary water
Curses unspoken but not by the youngster
Sweep, sweep up the plaster
Cheerful doggie tail and so to slumber
A small boy excited

With other boys and not a thought
Of death, misery and disaster
The houses rubble scoured for plaster
To use as chalk their only thought
Lots of small boys excited.

By Peter G Pigden (Aged 68 years)

JUST PETER (with apologies to Richmal Crompton!) AND AN INCENDIARY TALE

During WW2 and just beyond life was more ordered, and for children much more free. When kids were not at school they were allowed out to look after themselves until hunger drove them home. We were often 'missing' all day.

Inevitably the local Sheldon kids formed themselves into gangs. Not the modern, sometimes violent, and often vandalising gangs of now. It was more about climbing trees, swinging on ropes from trees over the local brook, and playing Cowboys and Indians based upon the epic films at the Tivoli cinema at the Saturday morning children's matinee in Yardley. We walked to the cinema and re-enacted the films on the homeward trek.

Our gang ran fairly wild over the local farmland where now stands a housing estate, ice rink, library, a retirement home, doctor's surgery, shops and the brook is now in pipes underground.

Our pride and joy was our den. This was dug into a small hillside, roofed and walled with scavenged corrugated iron and turf placed over it for camouflage. This den was on a rough, grassy hilly island, surrounded by wheat and barley fields. Access was across a path used by the farmer and his tractor, and left no trace of passing gangsters. Here the gang met, planned their days.

Adjacent was the brook where sticklebacks were caught and released, and black, fat, squirming, leeches were brushed from our 'wellies' with sticks.

On a particularly idyllic hot summers day the gang met and sat round a campfire outside the den. Unfortunately the surrounding grass caught fire and despite much beating with coats and pieces of old packing cases quickly spread to the cornfield. There was not too much flame but the smoke was intense which was our saviour.

A line of small boys crawled through the wheat and barley under cover of the smoke to emerge by three fire engines. The fire was quickly put out and not too much harm was done. We stood angelically by as the firemen explained to the assembled throng that it was undoubtedly an incendiary bomb that had failed to detonate on impact and had been set of by the sun heating it.

Our secret has remained until this day, so please do not tell anyone.

By Peter G Pigden (Aged 68 years)

A Tear

What is in a tear?
Pain or Love?
Joy or Despair?

If you look inside a tear
What will you see?
A small child with a cut knee?
A sad programme on tv?
Or maybe
A child who’s found their Mommy or Daddy?
Or You?
Or Me?

By Zoe Screti (Aged 12 years)

California Dreams

Golden light streams across the sand
A man and a woman walk hand in hand
And the sea slowly ripples on the shore

Delicate shells litter the sand of gold
The same gold sand that will never feel cold
And coconuts fall to the floor with a gentle thud

As the waves provide pleasure
For surfers alike
I awake
From my California dreams

By Zoe Screti (Aged 12 years)

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