The Game (Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 201)


Initiation came holding hands in a circle,
a ring around the rosy, jumping up
with numerals in our shrill voices.

Soon, we made sport of picking teams,
leaving someone at the end
of the sequence, racking up the score.

Then we grew and learned to get even
with the odd ones,
broke them one by one,
two by two, and told them, “It’s just a game.”

The training was exquisite. 

Now, we encircle tables
and call them board rooms,
a ring of thorns and rotted roses,
declaring victory over the numbers game.

I didn’t work out today, but this prompt was enough to spark this creative exercise. Give it a shot! Write a numbers poem.

You may recognize the first two stanzas as traditional childhood games, but the third is a loose “translation” of a Jamaican game I used to play when I was younger. Read a few of the video’s comments to learn more.

Writing this poem inspired me to the challenge of writing in patois, which I have done (infrequently) in the past. A little cultural perspective changes the flavor of words.

What do you think of the poem?


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