War Games

“Memories of childhood were the dreams
that stayed with you after you woke.”
Julian Barnes

Summer afternoon, chores all done
War games call, so here we go
Twelve of us from the hood
Careful not to let our parents know
To the woods we go, up on a hill
Our slingshots in tow
A good supply of bent reeds
V-shaped bullets, just like arrows
We made the slingshots ourselves
From Y-shaped guava branches
And used up bicycle tires
The rubber interiors, that is
We chose teams, six heroes or wannabes
Anti-heroes make up the other side
We elect a leader, our meanest kid
Heroes must win!  A matter of pride!
We set camps on opposite sides
Of the wooded hill
And hid behind the trees and bushes
Lying in wait, keeping still
We were not very good shots
A lot of our bullets missed, hit the trees
But once in a while, we get lucky
And it feels like we’re bitten by bees
The war games go on until
We’re out of bullets, the enemy surrenders
Or church bells ring to mark Angelus
For we best be home to say prayers
Both teams meet later to recount the day
For after all, we’re friends
Neighborhood kids with not much to do
On lazy afternoons till summer ends
Memorable days as a ten year old
Taught me more about life than schools.
Camaraderie, strategy, social skills
Loyalty, creativity and obeying rules
We survived our Waterloo, learned life’s lessons
Not in the playing fields of Eton
But in the woods outside our sleepy town
© Vic Evora

The Duke of Wellington, the over-all allied commander in the Battle of Waterloo - was supposed to have said that Waterloo was won in the playing fields of Eton.


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