Poems on the theme of "Games" for National Poetry Day, Thursday, 6th October 2011

Rounders Helen Overell
Les Jeux Sont Faits Sylvia Herbert
Found at the Ragged Hedge Fair Marilyn Hammick
Loop the wind Marilyn Hammick


Rounders was a dream of buttercups,
a slow stroll to the farthest corner
of the school field; plumed grasses, daisies,

daps dusty with pollen; the gold-green
dazzle of a beetle clothed in black
balanced on a grass blade; the distant

clamour of a clean catch; the thin thwack
of bat on base; the dreaded outcry
as a hard-hit ball skimmed the scorched sky,

dropped through my grasp; the wafts of wild shouts
that swamped the hushed rasp of grasshoppers
on guard round the blurred edge of my world.

Helen Overell
25th July 2004

Les Jeux Sont Faits

We play the games of life
from childhood to old age.
it's all a gamble.
We hope we'll knock the skittles down
or catch the cricket ball.
Sometimes we win,
more often, lacking skill,
we lose.
Our team does well,
then someone lets us down
and hopes subside.

Those lottery numbers
never do come up
in the right sequence.
What do we expect?
So many permutations,
so little chance.

Don't play the stock market,
that's a dangerous game,
reserved for dodgy bankers
who like to play with other people's cash;
they set the stakes too high
and then they crash.

And what about the game of love?
Now, that's precarious,
open to deceit.
What seems to be a lifelong partnership
may crumble into dust.

If we fall ill, someone will say,
"Bad luck, it isn't fair;
I hope you get well soon"
We work at it and, fingers crossed,
we join life's game again.

Reaching a ripe old age
Is not for the faint-hearted.
Our eyes play ticks on us,
our feet fine unseen stones.

And when the game is up
the invisible opponent
claims the victory,
as we always knew he would.

Sylvia Herbert
Sept. 2011

Found at the Ragged Hedge Fair

Rosehips, sunflowers, cornflowers
hand-made rayon, bent willow whips
white wigwams, litter bins, fire-points
green man, blacksmith, Mr Brown's Pig

fragrance of wood smoke
Purple Melon, Kangaroo Moon
ecoflow, motoflow, H2flow
chia, roobibush, tibetan mo-mos

uni-cycle, odd cycles, recycle
dancing, singing, chanting
a tightrope, a piebald horse
ethical investment, swing boats

the human right thing to do
tasselled bellies, trinkets, ragged roses
stilts, flags, poles, tattoos, truths
hemp dresses, breast-fed babies

mushroom models, lavender bundles
vacant boots at a carpet's edge
Johnny Be Good and Ride Around Sally
black, green, flowery wellies

bubbles to amuse, tittle tattle
an anti war joust, a small lost boy
camel hump tents folding to go
daily meditation, the last procession.

©Marilyn Hammick
In residence at the Ragged Hedge Fair, 2006

Loop the wind

The circus woman defies the wind
her body, her arms, sticks and flares
loop in harmony. Smooth moves
emerge from blind reflexes.
Alert to nervy novices
she invites them into her craft.

Forwards, forwards push down, turn
Backwards, backwards push up, turn

Their jerky mime begins
four hands shudder, shudder
sticks judder, flares wilt, then
hard edges disappear
into smooth arcs
that mirror her moves.

Now a figure of eight
let the wind take

©Marilyn Hammick
In residence at the Ragged Hedge Fair, 2006