Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Too Cold For "Piggybeds"

I'm not quite sure what it is about this time of year but I find myself yet again wanting to describe a winter memory as I experienced it during my childhood in Ringsend, Dublin.   I pray all these  memories I will carry with me to the end of my days, and with some luck, into the next life.

How wonderful it would be if we could transfer our happy recollections into our childrens' minds for them to glimpse what life was like for a child in the 1950s and 60s long before street games were replaced by sitting at a computer monitor where the only physical movement is that of your fingers on a keyboard and the periodic clicking of a mouse.   I suppose it has something in its favour, perhaps the children of today have a level of mental fitness that we could never achieve, but Boy, were we physically fit as fiddles!

Below is a little piece I wrote when remembering the other day, the winter's evening my friends and I had been playing "piggybeds" (a kind of hopscotch) at the end of my avenue and when it became too cold, they went home.

I, of course, with my goulish fascination for bleak winter nights remained in the avenue for a while in the hope that a storm-force wind would suddenly blow up and then I'd also get to hear the eerie fog-horn which always excited and terrified me at the same time!

Too Cold For "Piggybeds"

The street lamp casts its amber glow upon the eight-squared white chalk pattern,
A dirt-filled polish tin lies abandoned just outside square four, its abrupt end to play, the consequence of frozen fingers.
Mesmerised by the bleakness of this November evening,
My gaze begins its long fix on nature's tapestry;
The fog-shrouded moon,
The navy clouds, their wispy pink tendrils trailing off in zig-zag directions and, across the road,
The ink-black Liffey as she rhythmically pounds the sea wall.
Enveloped in the freezing mist
My thoughts now turn to bright red flames leaping in our living-room hearth,
And so, without much inner persuasion, I place the long-discarded "piggy" in the safety of neighbouring hedgerow,
Then make my way homeward to the promising comforts of warm hands and Irish stew.

© Ann Brien 2012

Above image: My avenue, taken by me, July 2011 (hedgerow to right still in existence!).


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