The Games We Used to Play


Plainsy, clapsy,
round the world
to backsy, with a ball
against the wall.

Hopscotch and skipping games,
ball games, marbles and the like
all out in the playground
in healthy cold fresh air.
Pontoon, rummy or Monopoly
On rainy days indoors.

Cowboys and Indians,
camping on the island.
Growing up to team games
like rugby touch and rounders
and flirting round the bike sheds.

Years of Bridge, and adult games
like chess, Mah Jong and Scrabble
before the babies came
with patacake
and this little piggy went to school,
to repeat the whole rigmarole.

Plainsy, clapsy,
round the world
to backsy, with a ball
against the wall…

for Octpowrimo day 17



All poetry, prose and pictures posted here, except where otherwise stated, is my own, and may only be used elsewhere with my expressed permission. Please don't be inhibited from correcting my bloopers and making suggestions: Most of what I post here is instant, ill-considered and off-the-cuff, in serious need of editing.
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28 Responses to The Games We Used to Play

  1. shanyns says:

    Wonderfully done, the circle comes back around doesn’t it?


  2. Ruth says:

    oh {claps hands} – l love this rollcall listing of childhood games we played too, & love the repetition of the children’s verse at start & end


  3. Yousei Hime says:

    Outdoor games were definitely the best. As we head into the Thanksgiving season here, I always think about our family football games, the grownups inside in easy chairs, and all the grandkids chasing around in the fields. Wish I had that energy now. Enjoyed your poem.


  4. Susan Chast says:

    Totally wonderful! Some tell the story of life in seasons, some in decades, but here is the truth laid out in toys and games.


  5. brian miller says:

    smiles…i like the progression of the games…i enjoy mah jong….we play a lot of card games now…i enjoy some hop scotch though and the little rhymes that go with it like skipping rope….so i def like the intro and extro of this…


  6. Grace says:

    I enjoyed those games – outdoor specially cowboys and indians ~


  7. Gabriella says:

    The games you mention are very similar to the ones I played with. I learned to play MahJong but, sadly, I have forgotten the rules.


  8. Mary says:

    It always amazes me when I find people from Europe played “cowboys and Indians” when they were children, but I suppose it should not because I also played “Robin Hood & the Merry Men” in the woods near where I lived. Smiles. And oh yes, those skipping games…..with the rhymes that went with them. And hopscotch I too could play for hours. I enjoyed this, Viv, very much!


  9. claudia says:

    ah – cowboys and indians… we used to play it for hours… outside all day… yeah we had plenty of fresh air… brought back some nice memories…thank you…


  10. And this is how the circle should be … but in comes iPad and wee…. and all of the sudden the chain is broken.


    • wii, please! Wee has other connotations….. My grandsons are always ready for a game of monopoly or Yahtzee or scrabble. And Fraser’s toy cupboard looks pretty much the same as mine and my children’s did: Lego and jigsaw puzzles, dressing up stuff etc. The electronic stuff is an expensive add-on.


  11. restlessjo says:

    Brilliant! 🙂


  12. thehutts says:

    This is the latest game to hit the Hutt household. I think you will want to join us at Christmas in this one:


  13. Christine says:

    Such a lovely expression of a lifetime’s worth of games! Beautiful.


  14. siggiofmaine says:

    Love this…thank you


  15. seekingmeme says:

    Wonderful to bring the images full circle as we pass the games of our childhood on to our children.


  16. ladynimue says:

    I totally love this. Just the sort of poem I had in my head 😀


  17. yikici says:

    I remember most of these games, you took me back to my childhood, nicely done. 🙂


  18. I loved this poem so so so much! so muccchhh!!! amazingly written! and you’ve included almost every game most of us have played! 🙂


  19. Ron. says:

    I haven’t been scanning too many blogs this (busy) month; did not note that you’re doing the October Marathon. Good for you, V. I did the April thing a couple years ago & it almost killed me.

    This piece is MAHvelous; captures those moments perfectly. Well done.


  20. This takes me back! I don’t know Plainsy and Clapsy and we used two balls against the wall (those of us who could; I couldn’t), but the rest are familiar. Though I’ve never played Mah Jong. You’ll have to teach me.


  21. Shah Wharton says:

    Aw, I could see a happy childhood, lots of exercise, fresh air, playtime, fun. So much better than being couped up inside, staring at a screen. X


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