The Best of New Writing on the Web

January 1, 2008


Filed under: Poetry,Writing — litlove @ 12:07 pm

From Anne Holloway

Not another bloody stick.

Just how many does a small boy need to tool himself up for imaginary battle?

I know for a fact there are always two or three lying on the back seat of the car

for his sister to sit on and cry, “Oh God! What is that?”

Some of course, are weapons,

but others are polished twists of touching stuff

for hands to rest on

fingers to wrap around

thumbs to rub up and down as if burnishing a golden rod.

Those ones I understand and allow him to bring them home.

Wizard’s staff, lance of a knight, sceptre of a boy king.

Others I scorn and demand they be left behind.

My vision cannot equal his in most cases – or his sister,

“it’s just a dirty stick.”

That time in Wassdale we had lain awake

listening to the howling, rushing dragon

as it thundered around the hills and down the valley

wrenching pegs and guys from soil.

We brave adults ventured out to secure our bucking canvas shelter

to keep the boy king and his sister safe inside.

And he, eyes wide in the darkness, softly asking,

“did you bring my stick back in?”

Once safe in his hand, he breathed more easily and allowed his eyes to close,

armed against the demon who railed outside.

We lay down and I whispered, “it’s fine, everything will be alright,”

secretly believing otherwise.

I reached out my hand to touch his arm and closed my fingers round his wrist

just like he, small boy closed his fingers round his precious stick.

We lay, armed against the darkness,

protected from the wind.



  1. So beautiful! I love the closing image, it brought tears to my eyes.

    Comment by Stefanie — January 1, 2008 @ 3:07 pm | Reply

  2. Thank you.

    Comment by Ann Darnton — January 1, 2008 @ 5:16 pm | Reply

  3. Beautiful! I love that “secretly believing otherwise.”

    Comment by Emily Barton — January 2, 2008 @ 1:24 am | Reply

  4. Boys and their sticks. It must be primally wired into the male brain. I’m convinced of it.

    Comment by TIV: the individual voice — January 2, 2008 @ 3:57 pm | Reply

  5. Beautiful imagery, lovely poem. This was a day’s treat.

    Comment by J.S. Peyton — January 7, 2008 @ 4:37 pm | Reply

  6. A latecomer to the feast, I am overwhelmed by this poem. It has so much life and trust and young wonder at the world. Thank you, Ann, for writing it, and thank you Litlove for sharing it.

    Comment by archiearchive FCD — January 30, 2008 @ 1:21 pm | Reply

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