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Games Are Never Free

Text of Poem

The city park still draws children
to its shabby ambush, leaves and
papers soak in the bird-stained
fountain, grass dies along swing
runaways, trees scratch at clouds,
cries scalp Indian-hearted boys,
girls swing at the sky, small fry
clot the slide and scream their wonder.

          Lord, what a sight!
How many games ago I raced through
the forest until a father’s voice
harried me home. Stern-faced houses
still surround the park, still frown
at my search through leaf-fall for
the path to my wilderness, remind me
games are never free, scold a
running boy who has forgiven me
many broken promises.

First Line
The city park still draws children
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
Iowa Arts Council Newsletter 1 (June 1968) 1.
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