Nostalgia for Child’s Play

This poem was composed in my Creative Writing I class. The objective was to write a poem about a place and incorporate all five senses within the poem. I especially enjoyed writing this poem as the lake was one of my favorite places growing up. Not only is it a beautiful environment, but it is also a place full of memories spent with family. This poem holds a special place in my heart as my grandfather also enjoyed spending time fishing and hosting family gatherings with my grandmother at their home on the lake. When my grandfather passed in October 2012, this poem was displayed at his funeral, as I remember him telling me he had tears in his eyes when the poem was read to him.

Navigating a fog of dust

Leaves a light powder on the surface

Of the timeworn Taurus chugging

Down the snakelike path.

Hues of blue and green peep in and out

Between the chalky smoke of gravel.

Questions of “Are we there yet?”

until the moment of anticipation arrives.

Seatbelts spring back and chaos explodes

in the struggle for freedom

from humidity and close confinement.

The invigorating, cool breeze greets

bare skin, causing one to shudder.

Exposure to rays of sun light render

One momentarily blind, like a freed captive.
Sight is restored and the battle has begun

for who will reach the front door first.

Shouts, screams, and delighted squeals

ring throughout the atmosphere

as the door squeaks open in welcome.

Grandma’s inviting embrace, the prize.

Her face, always flushed,

Revealed a smile of a sweetness most sincere.

Next in line, grandpa awaits

with hidden anticipation

that deceives no one.

His face bronzed from sun’s rays

Creates an appearance of harshness

But eyes glimmer with joy

and pride, revealing a heart of tenderness.
The chill of the cooled interior

sends four pairs of bare feet scrambling

toward the rear entrance

of that little red house with white trim.

The explosion of sunlight

invades the frigid atmosphere

tempting those who seek its haven of warmth.

Once one is drawn into this setting,

no desire for escape.

Stepping off the back deck

And onto prickly grass

reveals a hill, high and steep

leading any small child to believe

it is truly a mountain.

The hill tumbles until it collides

with a shore of rocks

dampened by the murky

waters that crash against their surface.

The whooshing of waves eases the mind

Of any previous distresses.

Leaves of cottonwood trees answer the whispers

Of the breeze that swiftly wafts

Over them. The orchestra of sounds

performs its piece of the waves

rushing in harmony with

gusts of wind.

Turquoise waters sparkle and gleam in sunlight

presenting an appealing sight

to those willing to take the plunge

into its murky depths.
Carefully tiptoeing down the steps

cautious not to slip down the “mountain”

to the crashing waves of the deep.

Suddenly anticipation turns to fear

As the edge comes into view.

Closer, closer now “doom”

awaits the one who takes

the first leap. The heart jumps

as sprinkles of icy death splash

upon the flesh. Recoiling in fear,

one dips mere toes into the

dark abyss of the unknown.

One, mighty and daring, bounds

toward his fate and plummets

with a massive splash into the lake’s waters.

Now inspired, the rest follow,

discovering that fate is now glee.

Background sounds resume

as motor of boats roar to life

and shrieks of joy echo throughout the land.

Anticipation of nearby boats

to deliver larger waves

splattering the faces that bob above.
The sky is painted

with colors of orange, pink, and purple,

indicative of a day well spent.

Rising out of the depths

Brings immediate shivers

As water droplets rain down

Upon the dock. It’s a mad dash

To the warmth and comfort of towels.

After twinkling stars and the crescent moon

have replaced the brilliance of sunshine,

The time has come to return

To the once intolerable vehicle

But now it’s a sanctuary posing

as a place for slumber and dreams.

Resume the clouds of dust

As drowsy eyes close on another day.

*In loving memory of Grandpa Duane Carlson, who spent many years welcoming family at Clear Lake.

Grandpa Duane and Grandma Bonnie Carlson.

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