Monday, March 09, 2009

March Poetry Prompt 1 - Playtime

The Writer's Almanac posted this piece of news today:

It was 50 years ago on this day, in 1959, that the Barbie doll first appeared, at the American International Toy Fair in New York City. A woman named Ruth Handler noticed that when her daughter, Barbara, played with dolls, she liked to give them adult roles. At the time, most dolls were baby dolls, and only paper dolls were made to look like adults. Ruth's husband, Elliot, was the co-founder of a small toy manufacturer named Mattel, and Ruth suggested to her husband that Mattel make an adult doll for children to play with, but he thought it would be a failure. Then, on a trip to Germany, Ruth found exactly what she had imagined: a doll called the Lilli doll. Ruth didn't realize that Lilli was based on a prostitute in a cartoon, and had been created as a toy for adults. She bought three Lilli dolls, brought them back to America, and Mattel changed the doll's design, renamed it Barbie (after Ruth's daughter), and debuted it on this day in 1959. In the last 50 years, Mattel has sold more than 1 billion Barbie dolls.

I was a Sindy girl myself. What about you? What were the toys and games of your childhood? The ones you loved (that the blue teddy with the split in his armpit, marbles, Cluedo) and the ones you disliked (Pinky & Perky wooden puppets, clackers).

Write a poem about a toy or toys, a game, or your childhood play in general.

Write well.
Lynne

14 comments:

Fran Hill said...

Tree

We could fit four on that branch
if we kind of leaned against each other,
then everyone else sat underneath
picking at the grass
while we learned new words off Tony.
We could see across to the carpet factory
where women in blue overalls
walked past the windows.

Carol Price always had a snog story
and Bernard pulled Opal Fruits out of his pockets.
I’d make faces from the broad leaves
punching out eyes and mouth and spiky hair
with my long fingernails. No-one else could do it.
And holding them to my face like a mask.

We argued about how to tell the age of a tree.
Bernard said ask it
so we did and Ben fell off the branch laughing.
He landed on Simone. We all said ooooooooh,
so he snapped off a long piece of bark
and stabbed at all our hanging legs
like a madman.

We practised all Tony’s new words on him.
Then Carol spotted her mum
in the carpet factory window
and we all waved and yelled hello
but she didn’t see.

Bernard gave out more Opal Fruits.

Martin Cordrey said...

Imagination

A childhood toy
the other boys
could never steal.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Favourite Toy

Once you had wheels
but mum cut you free.

On damaged paws
you followed me
through hospital stays
and college days
to my adult home.

Not just age
knocks your stuffing out –
clothes moths find the fluff
of your Achilles heel.

Squirming larvae leave
no alternative but
enforced clear out
of things outgrown.

Keith said...

hand in glove

hand in glove
you and me
pride and joy
in my hand
your every movement
a puppet of my thought
a dumb reflection
without expression

Sooty

annie clarkson said...

wow, these are all very powerful, evocative poems... I esp like Fran's poem Tree. It creates such a wonderful picture of the scene, with the factory in the background.

Martin Cordrey said...

Latch key lads

We learnt how to use knives
to build wigwam’s in our woods

in our woods we learnt how
to use matches to start fires

to start fires and watch smoke drift
through foliage into the sky

into the sky like Indian signals
for the far off red engines

the far off red engines would come
to our woods and we’d run

we’d run with knives and matches
with knives and matches we’d go,

we’d go to the woods to learn
how to build wigwams…

margaret beston said...

‘Transformers’

We are pirates
we sail the Galleon
on wind tossed waters
plunder gold
on the Spanish Main
wait for the Crow’s Nest
cry of ‘Land Ahoy’

when we escape
on the Bucking Bronco
ride bareback
over sun baked plains –
we’re Roy Rogers
in the sixpenny movies.

We’re explorers
we mark our trail
in the darkening jungle
surviving on berries,
scrumped apples,
bitter sloes,
then track our way
to eiderdown beds
as lengthening shadows
close like curtains
around our trees.

Margaret Beston 13/03/09

Martin Cordrey said...

Puberty

‘Accidentally’
the boy brushes
the hem of her skirt

nervously
fans fingers
over blouse buttons.

Barbie
stares back
with cold blue eyes

as if to say
don’t
even think about it…

JPK said...

Captain Dan

Captain Dan was an Action Man
who died in interrogation.
He never revealed the Master Plan,
he defended a heedless nation.
Now, under the earth his eagle eyes
stare sightlessy into the dark,
by the rhubarb patch, where his body lies
in a grave without a mark.

The cause of his torment is now a man,
a leader of our society.
Never a hint of where he began,
reknowned for his kindness and piety.
But at night he thinks of inflicted pain,
staring sightlessly into the dark.
He knows if he could he would do it again
and never leave a mark.

charlotte s said...

Heartbreak

No, I've never liked dolls.
Their chubby little cheeks
are cold and hard
and those dainty eyelids
hide a vacant stare.
But teddy bears feel so soft to hold.
Teddy bear eyes are amber pools.

Don't be fooled by baby doll bodies -
they're hollow shells
with moulded dimples
on stiffened toes, frozen fingers.
Teddy bears have round, plump paws.
Teddy bears have heart.

Yes, dolls' hair looks like
the finest spun gold
but tug, tug hard
and it just won't break.
Teddy bear fur is fluffy and falls out.
Teddy bears are loved.

Once I had a little fairy doll.
Her smooth pink legs
got mangled by a dog.
I shrieked and ran away
shaking like a jelly,
crying out for my teddy bear.
Teddy bears are always there.
That's what's good about teddy bears.

Lynne Rees said...

Thanks for all the wonderful poems! Childhood is definitely an endless resource for material... look out for the next prompt after the weekend.

Flannery O'Connor said something like: Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.

linda w said...

Fairy Wings

Under the Christmas tree that year
were fairy wings! Shaped like a butterfly,
iridescent like an oyster shell inside.
I slipped them on: they were light as air!
I was a fairy now: I would wear
a gown of petals, shoes of silk,
daisies and rosebuds in my hair.

I could consort with pixies,
dance with elves
sip from an acorn cup
cast spells with a tiny wand,
hide in the long grass
and peep between its fronds,
bathe in morning dew
inside a toadstool ring
fly, fly through the air
on my gossamer wings.

One January day
I sat under a tree, my wings
beside me. A cold wind sneaked:
it ruffled my winter scarf and stung my cheeks.
Like a false and spiteful friend
it snatched my wings, carried them off!
Away they flew without me,
skittering, glittering in winter sun
bowling over trees and out of sight.
I was an ordinary mortal once again,
earthbound, all my magic gone.
With dragging steps, I trudged my way home.

anne.kenny said...

juggling

We spent hours perfecting the art
hands like cups, poised for capture
arms dropping and lifting as pistons.
A matter of timing as each ball would
fall to hand or floor, playing with
gravity and time. Eyes watchful,
following a crisscross of colour.

Now, with no time to practise
we scoop our belongings,
drop our children and grab
a moment to ourselves.

Tim Keward said...

Little Plastic Bricks

Summer sun in Billund
A world of Lego
Leaves an imprint
On my father's sole.