Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011

Adventure Playground

by Guy Arnold


The chair was cheap, muddy brown and thinly
stuffed with tea-coloured padding. He’d sit there
 
all day with a leg crossed over a knee
motionless, except for the rise and fall of
 
his blue-jumpered stomach. I used to sit on his lap
and face him while he watched snooker,
 
rugby or golf, and style what was left of his hair.
I’d wish I could turn his hair around so the back
 
became the top. Sometimes I’d sit on the floor
by his side and run fingers through the chair’s thick shag,
 
sketching tramlines in different directions,
then rubbing them out with a swift backstroke.
 
We’d play draughts (and one time chess). He’d
never get up from the chair so I stayed at his feet
 
watching him play with half his attention
on our game but more of it focused on
 
Jimmy’s, Billy’s or Nick’s. I didn’t mind. I taught him
some lessons. I showed him the consequence of
 
split concentration by jumping his chequers. King me,
I’d say. He’d tell me that he was the king and
 
I was just the prince. One day I crept up on him
and clambered all
 
over his gigantic frame (like a limpet, he’d tell me).
He strummed my ribs with the ends of his thumbs
 
making me laugh until I’d lose my breath and nearly fall
to the floor; he’d always pull me back up.
 
He was the climbing frame I’d wanted for Christmas like the one
in our next door neighbour’s garden.
 

Added: 16.12.2010

Judges' comments on this poem

05.05.2011

Good use of language and momentum; not sure 2 line stanzas gives the best read.

09.05.2011

nice idea

17.05.2011

This is such an insightful portrayal of a loved family member.

17.05.2011

nice childhood memorys xxx

19.05.2011

evokes memories of early childhood and innocence

23.05.2011

Good strong character depiction, we really see this relationship.Loved 'King me, I'd say.' & 'he strummed my ribs..'Ending lacked something?

27.05.2011

sweet

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