Thursday, October 13, 2011

How You Can Tell It’s a Playground

How You Can Tell It’s a Playground

Manmade archipelago, a low, clustered
city of materials, red plastic and steel.
Green turtle sandbox, sand in the shell.

Yellow seesaw with red seats. Slide
with bumps molded into it, an ode to
warped journeys, and the black rubber pail

of a baby swing dangling from two lengths
of chain, each clutching the seat with a free
hand. Mulch, and mulch dug out where

feet go, under the tire swing, at the base
of the slide where the kids collide with
the ground. Fence around it, and a gate

that you can unlatch and push to open.
Paved path nearby, leading there or through,
and a school that can be walked to, or

a daycare. Thick-skinned structures that
want to roughhouse, gently. You can fall
here, and be hurt only a little, a knee

bloodied or bruised beneath unbroken denim,
palmfuls of splintered mulch. Jump. Climb.
Run. We’ll help with the consequences.


  1. Well...we all need help with the consequences, even if the "play" area gets harder and less forgiving. You have such an eye. I love the turtle sandbox.

  2. You reminded me of grade school....however, our playground items had colors that worked with the surroundings and the new ones I believe clash and disturb the surroundings...and it appears that children prefer it that way!!!

    Have a great day Hannah!

  3. I like the tenderness in those last lines.

    I took a peek at the artwork that inspired this. Fun! Your poem complements it beautifully.

  4. Yes, modern playgrounds help with the consequences but the ones I played in growing up didn't. If you fell of the monkey bars you landed plop on the dirt and sometimes got the wind knocked of you. I'd much rather play in a modern playground!

  5. A really clever idea, very well executed, an enjoyable read.

  6. This brought back so many memories of playgrounds with my son. I love the final lines, we help with the consequences. We owned a green turtle sandbox, sand in the shell, when my son was little- only ours was purple with a yellow lid, homesized, just right for two. All great lines in this poem, like these: mulch, and mulch dug out where feet go...

  7. Roughhouse gently. Nice. Also, I've recently misread "fall" for "fail" in two or three places--and decided that was interesting.

    Thanks for your visits at Banjo. I still need to check on some things you've recommended.


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