Thursday, April 24, 2014

Witch's Hat: National Poetry Month 24 of 30

Witch's Hat

When we were young,
how did we survive?
It's just quite a wonder,
we're all still alive.

We didn't wear helmets.
We didn't wear pads.
We just jumped on our bikes,
our parents were glad.

We climbed up the slides,
and stood upon swings,
jumped off seesaws,
patched a few stings.

We played on equipment,
unsafe for us all:
like the witch's hat,
and monkey bars much too tall.

In water too shallow,
we dove in the pool.
We jumped off high dives
as tall as our school.

It's really a wonder,
we all lived through it.
If I could do it again,
I gladly would do it.

© Cathy L. Mere 2014

I'd planned to write about a slide today, but somehow I started thinking about the old witch's hat on our school playground.  We used to gather on that piece of equipment and push from side to side.  At some point they quit letting us put our feet in the middle and soon we weren't allowed to ride it.  My friends and I would go to the school in the evening and play on the witch's hat.  We'd stand on it, pushing back and forth until the hat banged against the metal pole in the middle.  I'm sure that wasn't safe….which inspired this. 

I'm writing poetry for 30 days.  For the first seven days of the challenge I wrote about "objects of memory," then "objects I just can't live without" and "school objects."  For the next seven days I will be writing about objects that can be found on the playground.  This will help me to prepare for a little poetry writing with students.  Our class will be taking poetry around the building in the days to come.  

April is National Poetry Month.  Again this year, inspired by Mary Lee Hahn, I'm joining other poetry bloggers (view links in sidebar) taking the challenge to share poetry each day during the month of April.  For thirty days my hope is to write a new poem each day.  The first two years I took this challenge I wrote any poem that found me.  This year, however, I've decided to try to write a poem about an object each day.  If you've read Billy Collins' poem, The Lanyard, you may have noticed the way he took an object to tell a much more meaningful story of his relationship with his mother.  My hope is to find the deeper significance in the things around me.


  1. I'm with you! Many days I believe that we are raising a pretty wimpy generation! Yay old school playgrounds! Yay you!

  2. Yep! Just yep! My favorite was the merry-go-round! Inevitably it would get going too fast and someone would end up underneath it! But we all survived! And without bike helmets!

  3. At first I felt like a delinquent parent for allowing you to do such things.. Then I realized that you had fun and have good memories.. Where is that free spirit in our kids today.. Oh wait, your children are free spirits and I am so glad that you have let them "fly"....

  4. I mourn the loss of merry-go-rounds and see-saws, but most of all I am sad (and so are many of my students) that our school playground no longer has swings!!

  5. Cathy - I had never even HEARD of a witch's hat! I had to look it up and found this too - But oh, did we have great monkey bars and metal swings and those merry go round things too. And no car seats. Just ride in the back of the station wagon in a sleeping bag! Funny how little things show the passage of time... xo


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