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Terry Collett Feb 2016
I was on a bomb site
off Meadow Row
with Helen
searching for small stones
for my catapult

she had her doll
Battered Betty
in one hand
and was looking at the ground
through her thick lens glasses

how small do
they have to be?
she said

about this size
I said
showing her
with my thumb and finger

we searched amongst the bricks
and rubble and bits
of wood and weeds

is this small enough?
she said
picking up a stone
and putting it
in the palm
of her small hand

I went to her
and gazed at it
and picked it up
and said
yes that's about right
and put it in a small pouch
made from an old handkerchief
tied together
and tied to the belt
around my blue jeans

how many stones
do you need?
she said
because Betty
is getting hungry
and I will have to
feed her soon
with the bottle
in my dress pocket

o about a handful
I said
just a few more

ok
she said
and we looked on
Betty hanging
from Helen's hand
by her tiny hand

just then a copper
walked across the bomb site
from the New Kent Road
trudging at his own pace
towards us

Helen saw him first
and stood up
and clutched Betty
close towards her chest
her eyes large
and scared looking

I stood up and put
my hands in the pockets
of my blue jeans

you ought not to be
on bomb sites
he said
they're dangerous places

Helen opened her mouth
to speak
but nothing came
but air

we're collecting stones
for my catapult
I said

he stood upright
with his hands on his hips
staring at us both

I don't care
if you're collecting gems
for Her Majesty the Queen
I want you off now
and to go home
he said
his voice firm and baritone

only I need ammunition
I said
and this is the best
place for them

off and go home
he said peering at me
his eyes dark and enlarging

Helen was nigh
wetting herself

so I shrugged and said
ok but we'll be back
once you've gone

Helen stared at me
as if I'd passed wind

GO NOW
he bellowed

pigeons flew up and off
from the bomb site
at the sound

we walked off
the bomb site together

she looking ahead
eyes tearful

I gazing back
like I'd seen this cowboy do
in that Western film
before a gunfight
I'd seen with my old man
the previous night.
A BOY AND GIRL AGED 7 ARE TOLD TO GTE OFF A BOMB SITE BY A POLICEMAN IN LONDON IN 1955.
Brent Kincaid Oct 2015
The whistler was a policeman
He whistled when he wrote a ticket
One citizen was so incensed
He told the officer to stick it.
But the officer understood.
He had heard complaints before.
They seemed to miss the point
As what this whistling was for.

They didn’t realize that he
Whistled as well when nervous.
He monitored himself carefully
When he was in the service.
War is often no kind of place
To be making unwitting noise.
He was reprimanded by
The officer and the boys.

But Sam, the whistling cop
Had done so all his life
He whistled different ways
Even like a sailor’s fife.
He could trill like a bird
And do the best of all;
That kind of whistle
That wonderful taxi call.

It was an amazing to hear;
He could whistle too
From the side of his face
So you had no idea who
Was making that music
As his lips were not pursed.
That made it more maddening
To a few people that cursed.

As part of his job, one day,
A hotelier called him in
To deal with the issue
Of a dead resident within.
Sam hated blood and death.
It made him quite queasy.
So, he went about this task
But for him, it was not easy.

With a dead body in his arms
Quaking with internal fear
The hotelier objected to his song
Sam asked what he wanted to hear.
He was whistling The Blue Waltz’
In his pitch perfect rendition
To keep his mind off of the corpse
And off of his own condition.

But, oh boy, could he whistle
Making music in every day.
Creating lasting memories
I recall up until this day.
That officer, Sam, you see
Too often in a spot of bother
Was known as Whistling Sam
And was also my father.
When I am all grown up
There's lots that I can be
A million different choices
And the choice is up to me

I can be a fireman
And drive a truck all painted red
I can work inside a kitchen
And make sure that folks get fed

I can be a sailor
And sail from sea to sea
I have a million different choices
And the choice is up to me

I can be a teacher,
and teach children to write
Or I can be a singer
And sing on stage each night

A footballer, a builder
or a worker in a zoo
It's up to me exactly what
job that I will do

A dancer, or a dentist
A scientist or vet
It's up to me and no one else
What kind of job I'll get

A painter, or an acrobat
A lifeguard on the beach
I can be an astronaut
And to the stars I'll reach

I can be most anything
There's lot's that I can be
There's so much for me out there
The choice is up to me

I can drive a race car
Let my imagination soar
This is just a short list
There's a million, million more

I can be most anything
There's a lot out there for me
For I am just beginning
And there's lots that I can be

An astronaut, a soldier

— The End —