Throughout the summer, we would tightrope walk
the reality of blocks of flats with smelly lifts,
washing like bunting on balconies
and the savoury scent of next-door’s dinner.

At any moment, our threadbare plimsolls might
to the other side,
where trees were
cathedrals, ships and giants,
and a small playing field
in a south London suburb
became a whole new world.

Kim M. Russell, 4th October 2018

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My response to Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Balance also linked to dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night

Susan says that, astrologically, we’re in Libra, reason enough to think of balance, and she has given us inspirational quotations and poems on this theme. I particularly like this one:

“Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.” ― Jelaluddin Rumi

Our challenge is to explore the possibilities of balance in a new poem.

59 thoughts on “Precarious

  1. Love both poem and illustration. This is true of the gentlest childhoods but equally true of the borders–or how they must seem to refugees–between nations. Your images–“washing like bunting on balconies”–are unique and vivid.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful remembrance, and like Bjorn I dig how you played with the form. I appreciated the juxtaposition
    of the concrete reality, and the forest of a child’s imagination.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, this “tightrope walk” is so delightful in its sensory appeal, with the aggrandization and lure of the other side. I love how you use those smells, as such a potent reminder of childhood and olden days — I too liked the structure, adding into the pleasure of reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely Kim! Your poem evoked childhood memories of mine growing up in London. Our adventures included climbing washing line poles and throwing tin cans down the street. Playing knock down ginger – I have no idea why it was called that! Knocking on people’s doors and running away. Fishing for tadpoles and bringing them home in jars 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember knock down ginger, British bulldog and run-outs! We used to ride around the flats on our bikes, jump from one row of shed roofs to another, visit the neighbours and generally have a wonderful time. Fishing for tadpoles, oh yes, and two balls up the wall – pure nostalgia!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This feels like a call to learning how to balance between the good and bad.. the beautiful and ugly as we find our footing and make it successfully through life’s journey ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  6. How imaginative and I love the formatting, like a tightrope or line between the first and last line. This reminded me of my childhood games, imagining what the neighbors are doing and what they are eating. Happy weekend Kim.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We went back on the day of my mother’s funeral about a year and a half ago and they have built on that green space. The flats look different now and are mostly privately owned; when we were children, they were all council flats with low, affordable rent.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. kaykuala

    and a small playing field
    in a south London suburb
    became a whole new world.

    A transformation very unusual but typical of a change of landscape with the changing season.


    Liked by 1 person

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