Marie Elena’s View:


Step with me across the moon,
where childhood awaits
with puzzle books, and sharpened crayons
and four-wheeled roller skates.

Take my hand, and skip with me
To Thumbelina land.
Let’s grab a rope for Double Dutch;
Build castles in the sand.

Climb with me beyond the clouds
Discover who is there –
It’s Chatty Cathy, Penny Bright
And your first Teddy Bear.

Come where time did not pass by,
And ceaselessly it’s Spring
Where getting there’s the easy part:
Just grab an empty swing.

Walt’s Poem:


It used to be our playground,
our sanctuary; our safe harbor.
It’s harder to imagine where time
has stepped off and left these seats vacant.
Youth was our canvas and painted
with vibrant hues, offered a world of possibilities.
But these days of futures past, have left us
to seek our dreams a bit muted and unsure. We have all grown
and we need to “own” what we’ve become.
Returning to days of youth soothes our souls;
these memories tend to fade once we’ve gone.


  1. In honour of my former student, overkonstabel in the Danish Army, Brian Juul Nørlev Andersen who died the 6th of March 2002 in Afghanistan.
    The world lost a humorous, jovial, loyal, bright and wonderful young man that day and no romantic heroism can ever explain what happened.
    We sit here with our loss and we do not wish to encourage other families to go through this.
    Just now politicians internationally are working on creating a bill that stops supplying Afghanistan with chemical stuff needed for manufacturing heroin. We like you to support such acts instead and we’d like you to address people of all ages.

    In Ørslev just outside Vordingborg where Brian comes from there is Ørslev Mose and I wrote a poem of a vision I got from out there. Please share this vision with us. So much ends, flowers disappear, yes, but you see, the days never end.


    The days never end but
    for the longing of
    the damping forest
    the on shore wondering,
    the red-necked grebe
    on its way
    with her two heavy babies on her back,

    No, the days never end.

  2. Keep Off the Ground
    Stretch yourself higher, kick your legs out
    I’ll go faster than you.
    Run away screaming from “it” and then freeze
    The sand is lava- you’re dead
    Rules made up by us for us
    Not as arbitrary as the ones
    You make.


    Seeing semblance,
    balance bound
    in the unattached.
    Mismatched pieces
    fragments found;
    sounds, sights,
    rich spectrum
    of emotional responses.
    Feeling not the need
    of setting the gears,
    chains to motion.
    Finding myself
    still, silent,

  4. Underduck Vs. Underdog

    I can swing alone
    my feet pumping
    till my toes
    scrape the sky.

    But the swing
    pulls me back
    high up and holds
    for that tiny second
    where I go

    I take a breath
    on the downward plunge
    by my hair screaming back,
    is not as brave
    as me.

    I can swing alone,
    or call it what you want,
    but there’s an extra surge
    when you run under


  5. Then and Now

    Running barefoot through the grass
    Splashing in cold creek water
    Whirling on a tire swing in the shade
    Scrambling up and sliding down hills
    Climbing trees
    That used to be a recipe for fun.

    Now we have our children
    play in the hot sun and gravel
    and let them slow bake.

  6. I’ve been admiring Marie Elena’s and Walt’s poetry on Poetic Asides for awhile now and once again they both rise to prompts magnificence like the cream of the crop they are! I tend to regress to rhyming couplets when I’m nervous in such prestigious company but as I’m a newcomer and we’re looking at a playground I trust you’ll cut me some slack!
    Here’s my poem:

    On Playground Known

    Neighborhood dogs in a bow wow powwow 
    Whippoorwills hollering from a plum thicket
    There was a playground, I’ve recalled just now
    We found paradise without needing a ticket

    It doesn’t seem so long ago, I had a child’s mind
    Swinging, sliding, crawling, leaving chewing gum behind
    Climbing on the jungle gym and my favorite monkey bars
    My interests have now grown to wild women and fast cars

    Now my love throws flowers into a warm winter’s night
    Tiptoeing her dream stallion in childish delight
    Hippity hop to that bucking bronco station
    She’s a dream jumping bean in trepidation

    And many dreams dreamt upon a swing
    Almost seem a peculiar thing
    For I was blind and now I’m shown
    Those dreams I’ve dreamt on playground known

    by Randy Bell aka Mystical-Poet

  7. Swings

    The parents met there while in grade school.
    They grew up in the parking lot.
    Techno generation’s taken over,
    The old swings left out there to rot.

    It’s lovely weather for a picnic.
    Yet, no one’s there to soak it in.
    They’re all indoors with their devices.
    No laughs, no smiles, nary a grin.

    By Michael Grove

  8. The Lonely Playground

    She loved to play with words,
    swinging them up and down
    playing with meanings,
    sounds, and word pictures.

    The last time she viewed her word
    use, the poetry playground
    was empty, waiting for that
    adult writing her boring prose.

    Grocery lists, encouraging
    e-mails, and hurried FaceBook
    hellos are fine, but she has
    too often left those lonely swings
    dangling in the wind.

    Sheryl Kay Oder

  9. The youngest of 5, I learned to play alone very well early on, too small to play some of the rough sports of my siblings. Since my own days of saying, “I can do it mysefff!” I’ve met any number of little ones who seek independence early as well, and just let their imaginations run howling like dogs in spring. I love them in a special way, these lone fliers.


    I know you want to push me,
    Send me soaring until I shriek
    Half panic, half exhilaration,
    Empowering me with your power.

    But I need you to know
    That I can play alone,
    I have power too,
    Can grow my own wings

    Kick off, arch, lie back,
    And catch the wind.
    The park may be empty
    Except for me, and maybe you,

    Watching, wanting to help,
    But my playground is fully peopled
    With me, myself, and I
    Settling into the swing seat,

    The creaking chains talking,
    And I soar up, my eyes closed,
    my body the swinging watch
    that hypnotizes the universe.

    I am touching the sky, all by myself.
    I don’t need you to push me.
    I push me. You need to know that.
    Then if you want to, well, OK.

  10. Hmmm… not sure this will be formatted correctly. Should be alternating — one long and one short line from beginning to end. Oh well, you’ll get the drift, anyway. 😉

    Seven Again

    “Whose bright idea was building here?” they complained, (implying
    close proximity to this
    playground might be bothersome, upsetting to their ever-so-elderly parents).
    Little did they know
    how many afternoons together were spent entertained by little ones at play;
    but, they
    (believing youth to be consigned, confined within a meager range of small numbers)
    should be pitied –
    most especially when the park and swings were empty, deserted (as today), for they’d never
    (how could they ever?) comprehend this:
    closed eyes, heart pounding, legs pumping, stomach dropping joy of being seven years old

  11. ~Back, When Trees Were Tall~

    Come, take me back
    To where the time stands still,
    Or stretches tall,
    Like pines without end

    We used to marvel at –
    With heads thrown back,
    Trying not to fall –
    They reached the sky at will,

    And sent us flying – dizzy, laughing – down,
    Onto the rug of prickles golden-brown.

  12. Brand New Cycle, Old Key

    As you race down the hall on unsteady
    Legs, glancing back over your shoulder
    Giggling and batting your lashes at me

    In the space between my life and yours
    Stretches all time and none, the circle
    Enfolds us both but is loose enough
    To let you slip through and back in again

    The key rusty and unused glints now
    From a corner of my psyche little visited
    Beneath a frayed mat I thought to never
    Lift again but want very much to move now

    In fact, you make me want to be able to move
    Proverbial mountains or their metaphoric like
    You have me considering ways to prolong my life
    Conspiring to help make sure your time here is epic



    I used to bring her here
    in summers years ago,
    a field of flowers when
    a bouquet would not do —
    a blanket, a basket and
    each other enough for hours.
    The fields are gone,
    replaced like so many
    by homes, parks, stores.
    We still show up early,
    claiming a bench while
    the swings are quiet,
    to fill our hours with the
    joy of young families
    and the blooms they
    bring out to play.

    (a shadorma)

    We cannot
    dwell on winter’s woes;
    summers may
    never come to pass; we must
    enjoy days of spring!

  15. Squeeze Play

    I used to love to swing up high.
    my hair blown back, I’d touch the sky.

    I’d laugh and shout at friends below,
    pumping harder just for a show.

    A wooden board with rusty chains,
    was all we had to play our games.

    The swings are now not made of wood,
    guess splinters in the butt aren’t good.

    Today I don’t swing up so high,
    these new swings always squeeze my thighs!

  16. Swinging for the Stars

    I wish I could go back
    To the time when all that mattered
    Was who could swing the highest.
    In that magical seat of dreams
    I would kick as hard as I could,
    Swinging for the stars.

    Today those seats hang empty
    As I play at being an adult,
    But I still kick as hard as I can,
    Still swinging for the stars.

  17. I wish I had time to comment on all of the wonderful poems here. What a fun prompt. I’ll stick to the two comments I wrote down. Patricia, Wwwhhheee indeed! Connie, I could see everything your words so well conveyed.

    Henrietta, thanks for being everyone’s cheerleader. Praise on.

  18. Shadorma and shadow

    Swinging in my Mind

    My swinging
    memories buoy me
    child again
    glad, aloft
    Now the seats pinch, too small, built
    too close to the ground,

    My aging body
    wedged into a toddler’s space—
    a living
    of what gravity
    does to flight.

  19. Marie, I love the opening two lines from your poem. These lines pulled me in and each line thereafter kept me reading and enjoying the wonders of childhood.
    Walt, I agree with Hannah about the line “Youth was our canvas and painted / with vibrant hues”. Brilliant!

  20. The Air So High!

    Once there was a little girl who loved to swing
    She lived in a house with a small back yard
    and in a corner of that yard, a friendly maple
    Tree stretched out its big generous branches
    So that her Daddy could attach a swing to them.

    Watch that little girl swing!
    Look! There she goes, skimming
    Over the neighbor’s fence. Now
    She is fly ing above the neighbor/s
    Back yard, Look at her go! Have
    You ever seen a little girl swing as
    High as that? If we didn’t know her,
    We would not be able to tell who she is –
    Even if she is a boy or girl! That is
    Right, boys don’t have long pigtails
    Flying out behind them!

    My Mommy and Daddy are watching me.
    They are standing in the backyard, talking
    To somebody. I can’t tell who that is, I
    Am so high above them that people look
    Like tiny ants. If I pump a little harder,
    Maybe I can see the lake. That would be
    Fun, to look down and see little fishes
    Swimming in the water. But I might
    Scare them. The have never seen anyone
    flying so high in a swing before!

  21. Linda: Avon Lake? My son lives in Lakewood. And of course, Walt and I are on the opposite shores of Erie. Cool!

    Andrea: I thought for certain I had added that I agree with Linda’s “Stunningly beautiful” response to your poem. Stunning, indeed!

    Marie Elena

  22. Where Have all The Flowers Gone? (photo prompt for PB)

    One swing rocks gently
    as if a child had just jumped
    off to follow friends.

    Where grass grew between
    cracks in cement, there are weeds,
    burnt ends of cigarette butts,

    wine bottles, smashed to bits,
    and soda cans violently crushed
    to thin sheet metal. I played

    here once, Dad laughing, deferring
    to my demands, ‘push me higher,’
    his cap pulled down, unlit cigar

    cornered in this mouth. I can see
    it all as if looking out a window
    in my head, except, the laughter

    is gone, Dad is gone, and children’s
    voices are silent. No flowers grew
    in childhood anymore.

  23. Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

    Etched against the cerulean sky-line
    The desolate, burned-out corpses
    Of stately walnut tree and stalwart pine
    Mark the graves of warriors and horses

    The lacy tress of emerald-leafy spire
    That stroked summer’s lithesome breeze
    In hellish cannon-bursts of blood and fire
    Are reduced to scorched scapes of centuries

    Where have all the flowers gone
    That nodded in the breeze of tranquil wood?
    They mark the tombs of daughters, sons
    Laid to rest in pools of gifted blood

    Where have all the flowers gone?
    They bloomed too short, before they died
    To rest within the gardens where
    Humbler posies bloom with pride…

    …upon the graves of heroes lost
    Before conceived deliverance
    To grace the tombs of freedom’s cost
    Nature replies in reverence

  24. Swings, a Better Exercise Alternative

    Waiting in line for a turn
    you push me
    I’ll push you
    until our
    arms burn
    and legs are pumped out,
    smiles etch the beginning of
    memory lines
    for years to come.

    You can’t find that at
    the gym.

  25. Underdog

    You don’t need to keep pushing me
    like that – I can do it myself,
    he yells to me, his arms and legs
    pumping the air to celebrate

    his mastery of flight. Relax,
    you don’t need to keep pushing me!
    I’ll be out of here soon enough.
    Just stand there and be proud of me,

    or, better yet, stay in the car
    and let go of the bits of me
    you don’t need to keep. Pushing me
    to stay the same won’t stop the clock.

    We do one final underdog,
    high as the sky, and he is gone.
    I miss you, son. It’s hard to change –
    you don’t need to keep pushing me.

  26. Pingback: Work in Progress | Awakened Words

  27. Elm Avenue

    There are no elm trees on Elm Avenue, anymore.
    There used to be, back when Dale and Mary Alice
    and all the rest of us were growing up,
    in the so-called good old days in Okauchee, WI.

    We were worried about the Russkies,
    building shelters underground, stocking them
    with Spam and water and some kind of hard bread,
    lots of Anacin and Band-aids.
    We should have been worried about the Dutch,
    those tulip-growing, windmill-loving ice skaters,.
    We’d blame them later for what happened to our trees.

    We were worried about polio, too.
    We all knew about iron lungs and braces, and
    we all had a classmate or relative on crutches.
    We weren’t worried when the doctor made his house call,
    cigarette in his mouth.
    We should have been, worried that is,
    and we should have wondered why no lady doctors came around.

    Our parents bought a new car every year.
    They worried about losing face,
    about keeping up with the neighbors.
    The neighbors, of course, were all white.
    We weren’t worried about what was happening with negroes.
    We didn’t know any, didn’t know anything about them.
    We didn’t know anything about brown and red and yellow races, as well.
    That didn’t worry us either.

    We all knew gay men and women.
    None of us knew that we knew them.
    Nothing to worry about there.
    We were occupied with the things that really mattered,
    like acne and masturbation and girdles and bras.
    We weren’t worried about STD’s,
    but owning a condom was still a big deal for boys with no clue.

    We were all poor, at least against
    the rich folks across the lake,
    the Pabst’s and Miller’s and Johnson Cookies people,
    the ones always last to pay their grocery bills.
    In it together,
    being poor didn’t worry us, and
    we took pleasure in simple things,
    like swimming and tag and the free movies
    in the park on Saturday night.

    Our heroes were athletes and actors,
    local folks like Johnny Logan and Tony Curtis.
    We didn’t worry about scandal then,
    our heroes too true to make the
    tarnished footprints of the future.
    We might have worried about that,
    propping them up,
    only to knock them down,
    but we didn’t.

    There are no elm trees on Elm Avenue, anymore.
    But, there are pine trees and firs and maples, even birches,
    the ones we planted before we knew the elms would go.
    We were not worried about the future when we did that.
    We just put them in the ground, bought hammocks,
    and waited.
    Nothing to worry about.
    Nothing at all.

  28. (Quatern)


    Children find ways to be children.
    Smack in the middle of chaos,
    “Let us swing high…up to the moon!”
    “I can go, way higher than you!”

    Little toes to touch an ocean blue,
    Children find ways to be children.
    “I’m on my way…higher than you!”
    “Oh no you’re not, just watch me too…”

    Graceful forms of a dolphin’s sail,
    Gliding, dipping, climbing trails,
    Children find ways to be children.
    “…see me…I AM, where’s Mom and Dad?”

    “Up in the house, but don’t you ask!”
    “Up to the moon…let us swing high!”
    Smack in the middle of chaos,
    Children find ways to be children.

  29. So many in so short a time. I’ll have to spend a while examining the field while I’m here. In the meantime, I have a small blossom that seemed to take for ever to come to full flower, and I’m still not sure if has opened all the way. I hope all will enjoy it.

    Year’s Adventures

    Rear scooter down stairs
    Before trapeze act starts
    From swing’s tall framework,
    Causing gasps of protest
    To escape watcher’s lips.

    Strong ankles grip.
    Body dangles, head down,
    Hands perform moves
    Of Hawaiian dance,
    Quiet song keeps time.

    Summer leads to fall,
    Joyous leaping leaf
    Piles, always laughing,
    Awaiting turkey thanks,
    Knowing snow’s coming.

  30. Pingback: Once Upon a Childhood « MiskMask

  31. Once Upon A Childhood

    Once upon a slide
    Once upon a swing
    Once upon a time
    we chased round cherry trees.

    Running, seeking,
    1, 2, 5, 7, 10,
    ready or not here
    we come, hiding and jumping,

    riding on a wing.
    Long summers, no cares,
    no worries or scares,
    scurry and hurry here and there.

    Bruises, bloody knees,
    and crusty, scabby
    shins. Testing limits.
    Watch us – we’re growing up.

    That was then. Never
    more. There’s no happily
    outside playing forever,
    never more. Empty swings.

    Now we worry so.
    Empty slides. Now our
    little ones we scare,
    we fret. Caution, care. Silent

    emptied parks. Go where?
    Oh dear. Stay, and play
    indoors. We wrap them
    up in cotton wool, padded

    bandages and sticking
    plasters, bundled up,
    pre-precautions and
    pre-preventatives before we

    ever allow them
    to cautiously,
    venture out the door.

  32. Pingback: Prompts R Us: Friday Freeforall « Margo Roby: Wordgathering

  33. I always mean to write on Sundays and here it is Friday night…but this time I am here. 🙂

    Scattered Memories

    Faded petals pressed
    between the pages
    of a story

    yellowed photographs
    in a dusty old box
    high on the closet shelf

    a lock of hair
    in a jewelry box
    in the bureau drawer

    a few baby teeth
    in a small white envelope
    in the back of a desk drawer

    giggles and smiles
    in a compartment
    in the back of her mind

    faded and worn
    but each a treasure
    when the memories unfold

  34. Yes, I’m joining the bandwagon too here. And what a bandwagon it is!
    Walt and Marie Elena such good poems. You guys are great and inspiring. What I say is once a poet always a poet.

    Good writes !

    • Benjamin, I said so below, but it is so good to welcome you and your words here again! 🙂 I hadn’t seen this comment of yours yet, or I would have just responded here.

  35. Disregarded Beauty

    Where has your flower gone?
    Your grass has withered,
    And your flower has fallen off.
    Once a beauteous land,
    Now a forgotten, trodden ground,
    A disregarded beauty.
    Who has forsaken you?
    Under whose foot have you
    Been trampled?

  36. Life Hinges

    Once a dynamic power
    Unhindered, Unlimited
    Defiant in will
    With no lack of strength
    Second to none
    And rising above others
    Life hinges
    Changes direction
    Forward to backward
    But no change in velocity
    Backward, Forward
    Forward, Backward
    Life hinges
    Changes direction
    At will
    Encumbered by life’s changes
    The pace slows
    Nearer the end
    Until the swing is empty
    And the hinge is silent

    This poem was intended to mean the course of human life whatever it may be good or bad from the ball of energy tornado toddlers until the final moment when our swing is vacant and the hinge silent. The moment of our passing. I hate to use the word death. Its such a negative word. Second I dedicate this poem to my father who presently fighting bone cancer as we speak (or write). His pace is definitely slowing and changing in an undesirable direction for all of us. But whichever direction the swing goes we learn to accept and give thanks even for the things we cannot change.

    • Yes, the sadness of watching a loved one go through these changes is heartbreaking… the only thing that we can do is to flow with the changes, as difficult as that is to do.

  37. There’s no bloom in the garden

    There’s no bloom
    in the garden

    There’s no petal
    to choose, to pluck

    There’s no charm
    for the honey bee

    There’s no nectar
    to cherish, to suck

    There’s none
    to dazzle the eye
    or tame the senses

    There’s no loveliness
    to keep, garb our fences

    There’s no bloom
    to find forgiveness

    There’s no bloom
    to romance the misses

    There’s no bloom
    to make a supple heart
    or find a fresh start

    There’s no bloom in the garden…

  38. Marie and Walt — as always, your poems to start us off are superb…

    Marie…love the line: climb with me beyond the clouds/discover who is there

    Walt…love your line: but these days of futures past, have left us
    to seek our dreams

    I believe this past year of learning to write has done this for me…I’ve been climbing beyond the clouds and discovering a new me…seeking the dreams of futures past.

    Thank you for this garden in which I have grown.

  39. ———————————————–
    I think that I shall never want a
    Truck as sturdy as a Tonka

    A toy whose wheels make treaded track
    in sandy mud or loamy black.

    A toy whose God is just a boy
    and sacrifice, his greatest joy.

    A toy though small imagined large
    transforms a boy to man-in-charge.

    Upon whose hood deep snow has lain
    and bravely fights rust caused by rain.

    Poems are made by sage or smuck
    but only Tonka can make a Truck.

    My most sincere apologies to Ms. Kilmer

      • Thanks MEG. One of my Grandkids found my old favorite Tonka dump-truck in the attic a while back. It sure brought back memories of building roads in the sandy soil around the giant willow tree in my back yard. Thanks for the prompt.

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