Once there was rain with the rainbow,
friends with butterfly scents
and snails touched by index fingers,
back in the day when hands joined in the warmth of bonfires,
in winters that felt cold to the bone.
Hence we were friends,
temporary affections they were maybe.
Yet these photo albums do not grow beards
and have still to be turned around,
for a new sheaf of recollection.
Where have we put them away?
The thrill of that rainwater harvesting,
the cosmos of natural beings held by bare hands,
free from the fears of picking fallen pears
and sitting on sand,
that fell on our laps without restraint
and how we shared haikus of nights and days.
You called our names,
cicadas whispered youth,
parents sent us out to play
and the trail of friendships picked up nicknames old and new.
Fingers held to count,
to close eyes,
hold sticks and share treats,
to dance in circles and spin tops,
yes those were the days indeed.
Then the neighbourhood grew up
and left stuffed toys with silenced speech,
left kids to pick up new affiliates
and ally with faces far and deep.
Ah! the parents too brought them indoors,
those children of the hour.
Knights of the clubhouse roundtable,
they were truly the last of their lot.
Binoculars and secrets of their kind,
inherited by back room lots
and those summer camp riddles
and hand painted drawings lost,
to Time and the stain of the Future.
Without butterflies and snails,
the kite flying and the rain,
old neighbours spin yarns of the era,
painting bleached walls and the little toe-nails.