Valley Stream Days

Written for:  Poets United Midweek Motif~Picnic(s)  (posted by Susan)

A book of verse beneath the bough,
A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness –
Ah, wilderness were paradise enow!
— Omar Khayyam

“What are your fondest picnic experiences? the funniest? the most unexpected?
Your Challenge: Using sense images, bring a picnic to life in a new poem.”

Never has a picnic
compared, had the flair
of my childhood outings.
Numerous families–in our
building of seventy-two–
packed up hot dogs, hamburgers,
homemade salads, drinks,
desserts, and marshmallows.
We drove out to Valley Stream
Park, and tumbled out of
crowded cars, like clowns
pouring out of a small car.
We used enough picnic
tables for a wedding. Worn,
splintered benches under
shelter of enormous trees,
small grills with dust
of old ashes in the bottom,
for everyone’s use. We all
shared, no one cared if you
stopped at other tables
for a nibble.

We walked across a log
in the middle of the stream,
trying to stay balanced.
Boys were mean; girls ignored
them. There were occasional
fights, inevitable tears,
but mostly fun–ball games,
hide and seek, races. Laughter
echoed through trees. We were
all afraid of bees, so screams
filtered in and out. After a
full day, exhausted, we packed
up the cars for a
 quiet trip home.
Never has a picnic compared
since.

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About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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15 Responses to Valley Stream Days

  1. I dont think any picnic can compare to those of childhood….such a magical time. It sounds like so much fun, with so many people gathering together.

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  2. oldegg says:

    What a glorious poem this is, I lovede every word and was pulled right into the middle of it with your words

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  3. Sumana Roy says:

    Ha love those mean boys, occasional fights and inevitable tears. The picnic scene is a slice of life with all the smiles and tears.

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  4. Vivian Zems says:

    I love the way you wrote this. A fun scene to remember 🙂

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  5. gillena cox says:

    Luv how you emphasized the crowd
    “like clowns
    pouring out of a small car.”

    Much 💚🎈💚love

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  6. Sweet childhood memories delightfully written. I like how laid back people in your poem are or were. “We all / shared, no one cared if you / stopped at other tables / for a nibble.

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  7. Jeannette says:

    i love it! ..brings fond memories of my family’s picnics…

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