My Poem ‘Marble’

When I was a child,
like a great many of the children at my school,
along with all of my friends,
I used to run around, play games,
pick up conkers from the base of trees,
take them home and ask my Dad
to drill a hole through it
and help me put an old shoe-lace through it;
and then the next day take my brown
and beautifully vibrant conker to school
to play a game of “conkers” with my friends,
and perfect my throw, my wrist action, and my technique –
but as a child I did not realize there was so much to it,
I just, we just, did it, and my friends and I played happily
trying to hit and win a game against each other,
in the breaks between the lessons of our school day,
and it was probably the only time that we actually stood still
when we were enjoying our recesses,
because, most of the time, like I said,
we were mostly seen running around,
and trying to catch each other in games of “tig”.

One of our other, and my favourite, school time pursuits
that my friends and I shared were “marbles”:
multicoloured glass spheres that varied in size,
but which were essentially, to my friends and I,
jewels of enjoyment and literal pearls of perfection
that we all treasured.
My favourite marble of my collection,
of must likely a hundred,
was a silvery, glistening, marble,
that was like the biggest ball bearing
you have ever seen in your life,
but which I hardly ever played a game with;
and my other favourite marble was a pot-marked obsidian,
that looked as if it had been formed in an actual volcano,
or it had fallen to Earth like a meteorite
thousands of years ago, and had strange
and mystical powers to it that would allow me to win every game
and surround me with luck wherever I went –
at least that is what I thought when I was a kid.

I am not sure if kids still play with marbles,
nor do I know what kids do with their time
and what they share with their friends, these days –
however, if I were to guess, and anecdotally I have heard,
that what they do most likely involves a screen,
and usually takes place indoors so that they can
see their screens and they are not blinded
by the reflection of the sun’s glare;
I’m not saying that just because I and my friends
used to enjoy ourselves while being outside,
and while doing things that required using
all of the things that we were born with and blessed,
that we had a happier or a more content childhood,
than those of the modern digital internet-driven age,
because I know that children still do see, look,
explore, and ask questions, and things do matter to them,
and they do care.

I think, and I have believed all my adult life,
that our lives are a work of art –
but that it is a work of art that has more in common
with the mindset of some artists rather than others,
but if you are an artist you can understand life
and the world more – because you can see and interpret
and appreciate nature and peoples instances of sparkle,
and make your own art as you see and marvel;
I like to think that a person’s life
is like a work of sculpture, that we sometimes make mistakes at
when we are sculpting, but in the end those same mistakes
make the carvings, shavings, chiseling,
individual to us and to our lives,
and that is why I believe that all of our lives
is a work of art in progress,
that is incomplete until the very end;
and the matter and material that our lives is made up of
is as tricky to make something of, and with,
and as hard sometimes, and as delicate to work with,
as marble.

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