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As kids, enjoying usual larks,

We fell on floors and grazed our knees,

And came a cropper climbing trees.

Slingshots and conkers tied to strings

Were weapons made from our own hands;

We fought in playgrounds and on swings.


Now we are adult and fight wars,

But our manoeuvres stay the same.

There are high stakes in our new game,

It’s true, and more expensive toys,

But modern slaughter’s root remains

In playtime pranks of little boys.


◄ AI

Normandy Veterans at the Airport ►


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Stephen Gospage

Thu 1st Jun 2023 07:08

Thank you so much, John.

And thanks to Hugh for liking.

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John Coopey

Wed 31st May 2023 08:54

Another marvelous piece from WOL’s own “war poet”.

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Stephen Gospage

Wed 31st May 2023 07:03

Thank you all (John, Uilleam, Manish, Kevin, Keith, Hélène, Graham and Stephen A) for these kind and fascinating comments. I agree that one can play vigorously as a child without becoming a violent lawbreaker and it's also clear that many women can be aggressive and commit crimes.

Neverthless, there is an undeniable link between boys' belligerence and the nastiest manifestations of violence in society, culminating in war.

War correspondent, Graham? That's kind of you ,but these people are brave (and often quite young). I think I'll stick to poetry for the time being!

And my thanks to Telboy, Clare and K Lynn for liking this poem.

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Stephen Atkinson

Tue 30th May 2023 22:01

Succinct & brilliant as usual, Stephen 👏

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Graham Sherwood

Tue 30th May 2023 17:25

Playing all those aggressive style games in our childhood never made us bullies or law-breakers. Sadly I think the world is gradually dispossessing itself of any balance of humanity and the aggressive seem to be on an upturn currently. These bubbling-under scenarios usually come to fruition in a very big event. God forbid!

Stephen, ever thought of being a war correspondent? You'd do a great job!

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Tue 30th May 2023 16:44

Great poem Stephen. My world of little girls (3 sisters and friends) never played war type games. My only brother did (cowboy hat, belt, gun, etc). Some kind of evolutionary/survival/ territorial thing in males (while females took care of the babies, etc)? War is a horrible mystery to me but sure hope we humans evolve away from this, one of these millennia.

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keith jeffries

Tue 30th May 2023 13:21

The bigger boys are naughty boys. Stephen thanks for this as it offers a different perspective to what is now taking place on the continent.

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Kevin Tan

Tue 30th May 2023 11:05

I try to practice the art of ahimsa, non-violence. Perhaps our world needs more. But one-by-one, step-by-step...

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Manish Singh Rajput

Tue 30th May 2023 09:25

I completely echo John's comment here, Stephen G. The toys just get bigger, worsening the peace of the world. Powerfully juxtaposed.
Thank you for this.

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Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh

Tue 30th May 2023 09:04

Whilst I remember playing with a small cap gun and playing "goodies and baddies" or "cowboys and indians" in the school playground- I don't remember the girls doing so-did they ever?

Is it a white western cultural thing?
Is it a uniquely / mostly male thing?
Is there an element of brainwashing going on?

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John Botterill

Tue 30th May 2023 08:47

How very true, Stephen. Men are just boys with bigger toys. Brilliantly executed! 😎

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