The Fight

Below is a poem my father wrote regarding a fight he was involved in, in his childhood, in Wickersley:-

Meandering on my way,
From school,
On a hot summer day,
On the wood way,
Dallying under the shade of
A beech tree,
I was hailed by
A fellow scholar
Who was a boy aged 10
Like me.“I can fight you, Barrie, can’t I?”
He said on a confidential note.
Hot, bored, somnolent,
Looking forward to my tea,
What the heck,
“Yes,” I replied.Hardly got home,
Big brother John burst in the room.
“Jonny Shirtcliffe says he can fight you,”
John accused me with
Wondering perplexed stare.
“Did he?” I said
On a quavering note.
John fixed me with a hard perplexed stare.
“Can he?” John said,
“No,” I stammered.“Get on the back of
My bike,” John said.
In a trice, peddling furiously,
Arrived near to schoolmate’s house.
The unheeding hidden menace
In the tension-laden atmosphere, asked the
Fateful question once again,
“I can fight you
Barrie, can’t I?”
“No,” I said, between clenched teeth.
“Fight it out,” brother John said,
On the grass verge.

Not wanting to fight,
But alarmed and shocked
By crass stupidity of
My schoolmate’s perceived
Triumph over me,
And confiding this knowledge
To my big brother,
I had no proper choice,
I was fully committed.

With pounding heart,
And sickly stomach,
I launched my quivering body
Into that of my opponent,
Grasping him in a vice-like grip,
With the wrestlers’ hold called
The bear hug.

Fearing his counter attack
With pounding fists
On my person,
I held on and
Forced him down;
Then, I heard his
Shrieking cry,
“Get off me.”
I did so, and found that
My poor little, stupid opponent
Had sustained a broken arm.


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