Play Time

The children run towards the fence,
the swings idling as they approach,
and sun glinting quietly
on the banister of the helter-skelter;

their gait is careless,
swagger almost,
lolloping like rabbits towards the concrete,
the long concrete for take-off.

Heating in the afternoon
(it is after school),
the pipes of the radiator roundabout
whirl with alarm,
awaiting the tiptoe of the children.

Someone has planted a bomb in the park.

The children run towards the fence,
leap like sheep into a fairy
grotto of disaster. Planes
hit horizons like hammers.
There is a snarl-up on the runway.
And the child with the ping-pong bats
is signalling, signalling furiously.

This is the machinery of childhood.


From the book Robinson Crusoe's Bank Holiday Monday