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Poetry Pleases: Not Another Ball-Pool

Joyce Worsfold’s poem reminds us of how important it is for a child to play - but not alone.

Not another ball-pool
I need a friend
Someone who’ll be a soldier
Someone I can send
on dangerous missions at dead of night
someone I can play with, and fight.

“Mum can Duncan come to play?’’
“No love, he’ll come another day.’’
“But I want him now, I need to talk
To play at clowns and do silly walks
To splash in the water, to play in the sand
It’s no fun
Just for one
Don’t you understand?’’

Mum likes to play with the vacuum cleaner
And the washer, I’ve often seen her
Playing with them, nearly every day
Sometimes she doesn’t hear what I say.

Football’s good when Dad’s there, he likes to kick a ball
But when it comes to Thomas the Tank he’s not interested at all
But wait, Dad’s home, we’re going out today
We don’t even have to go to school
We’re in the car
We’re going far
Oh no! Not another ball-pool.

Not another ball-pool, I need a friend
Someone who’s playing will never end
Someone who knows I’m really a man
And I’m Captain Hook while he’s Peter Pan
We’ll have a stupendous ship with sails
And swim with dolphins and great big whales
And sail through crocodile-infested swamps
And crawl through tunnels with hats with lamps
Will make a mountain with our toys
And fly and fight with the lost boys.

Dad watches as he plays alone
While Dad works out on the mobile phone
Child plays video-inspired Fireman Sam
With a sweeping brush for a battering ram
Makeshift ladders against a chair
With a rope for a hose left lying there
The banister makes a pleasing pretend pole
And a superior slide is so good for the soul.
Dad is aware as he juggles the stress
Of time slipping by, of life being a mess
Of his family’s needs, of bills to be paid
Of time that is lost, of games not played.

“Dad
I don’t know what to play today
Life’s really boring.’’
Dad’s in the chair
Sleeping, snoring
“Dad wake up, come and play the fool.’’
He wakes and screams “Not another ball-pool!’’

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