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Raspberry Hill

In 1943 I was too young
for that ongoing war.
Coal-fired locomotives,
smoke-belching dragons
dragged draftees away
to boot camps, then to be
swallowed up in battle.

Train loads of young men
passed Raspberry Hill.
At each whistle blow
we children stopped
picking berries from bush
and each other’s lips,
rushed to the bridge, leaned
over the railing,
for the dragon’s smoke
and vapor to carry us
to his fearful
lair among the clouds.

We heard the whooshing
of wings. Not the dragon,
but an army scout plane hard-landed
on the railroad tracks.

Uninjured, the pilot grinned goofily
and waved:
“Hey, kids! Did ya see him?”


“The Jap with a blister on his butt . . . .”
But there were no Japanese soldiers;
that guy must’ve been flying
upside down far too long.

Someone scampered down
the embankment, ran along the tracks
waving his bandana
to stop the approaching dragon.
The monster screeched,
stopped . . . just in time.

We looked at those drawn faces below;
peering through windows,
enemy prisoners,
heading for POW camp.

Moments later, the dragon snorted,
puffed and screamed.
We rushed to the other bridge railing
for one more look
at those foreign soldiers.

“Crummy Nazies . . .” someone said,
but the rest was swallowed up
by the shrieking dragon
that turned around the bend
and then out of sight.

We picked more berries for our bucket.
She placed one between her lips,
and I stole it with mine.
On Raspberry Hill.

Style / type: 
Free verse
Review Request (Intensity): 
I appreciate moderate constructive criticism
Review Request (Direction): 
How was my language use?
How does this theme appeal to you?
Editing stage: 
Content level: 
Not Explicit Content


very impressive, clear and sparkling all the way. I was caught not only in the story but also the way it was being told.
The last stanza is a real gem, transporting the mind to the innocents of youth. I also enjoyed the dragon metaphor.


The most powerful reaction
of mind on mind
is transference of sight

I appreciate your kind comment very much. Much time has passed since that incident, but the mind keeps it alive. Thank you for allowing me to dwell on it once again. Take care. Jerry

author comment

Hi, Jerry,
Historic moments as seen through the eyes of children...raw and matter-of-fact. Lovely last stanza which gives the poem the feeling of regaining some of the lost innocence. Moving poetry here.
Thank you, Jerry.

yes, unforgettable moments in time those were, another "war to end all wars." At that time my mother was still mourning her brother William who fell in WW1. Thank you for the comment, Lavender. Jerry

author comment

that last stanza mentioned more oft than not. Thanks for throwing that in there. It gives it some innocence and a reminder that though the boys were going off to war, the life left behind is continuing and those raspberry lips, mean more than fighting dragons and Nazis to a couple of young kids just starting to know what it is all about. ~ Geezer.

Honest critique and comments shouldn't hurt.
It's why we are here, to get better at our craft.

a very astute input on your part. We boys (and most girls) certainly know what raspberry-flavored lips taste like. Have I told you about the time . . . . Strawberry-flavored lips will do in a pinch. Thanks for reading, kind sir. Jerry

author comment

my pleasure Jerry. I enjoy all your work and look forward to seeing what new thing you bring to the table. ~ Geezer.

Honest critique and comments shouldn't hurt.
It's why we are here, to get better at our craft.

who knows--it might be my latest Sonnet. I know you'll hate it. Jerry

Sonnet to a well-formed Derriere

I won’t encumber your poor mind with lies,
And therefore tell you nothing but the truth:
A woman’s shape does often catch my eyes
As they might rest on her . . . (I’m sooo uncouth!)
I woo my damsel with a tush so grand,
And peek beneath her flowing petticoat
In hope to see much more than just my hand--
I love the fullness I can’t help but note.
Such lustful feelings are in me oft stirr'd
And I defy the cretin who would assert
That roundness does no longer suit a skirt
And flatter bottoms are these days preferred.
So let me now the honest truth declare:
It’s hard to “beat” a well-formed derriere!

author comment

help, but think that you are correct
I too, see that there's something there
I often crane my aching, aged neck
To look at a well formed young derriere
Not that I would, touch such a priceless gem
'Cause I value my old and wretched life
For if I should be caught feeling one of them
I would face the wrath, of my vengeful wife

Not exactly a sonnet, but truth be told...
~ Geezer.

Honest critique and comments shouldn't hurt.
It's why we are here, to get better at our craft.

what you wrote is most certainly a considerable improvement of my puny effort to write a classic. In awe, I watched a master at work. Still in aaawe, thanking you! LOL. Jerry

author comment
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