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Playing Marbles, 1960s
by
Dennis Trujillo


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With sharp rock or stick, we etched circles
in the ground like symbols of eternity.
Marbles we placed inside—cat's eyes, agates,
bumblebees, clearies—gleamed like holy planets.

Lines we drew in the dirt, at which we pitched
marbles to determine order of play—
emblems of the path from birth to death.
The shooters—alchemists that multiplied

marble bag holdings, or caused them to vanish.
Knuckles in the dirt, we flicked shooters
with our thumbs, aiming for that sharp snap,
glass-to-glass, when we hit one out of the circle

confirming Newton's laws of motion.
Ragged jeans, knees painted with kiss stains
of Earth, we were too young to know back then—
everything about the game was sacred.



© by Dennis Trujillo.
Used with the author's permission.

 

Purchase a framed print of this poem.

Dennis Trujillo is a former U.S. Army soldier and middle/high school math teacher from Pueblo, Colorado. After retiring from these two professions, he has taken up poetry and finds it equally challenging and rewarding; his first collection is forthcoming from Future Cycle Press. Dennis runs and does yoga every morning for focus and the sheer joy of it.
 

 



Post New Comment:
wordartdjc:
My dear husband was always the champion. Great poem
Posted 09/24/2018 06:32 PM
Jo:
Love this poem and the subject of marbles. This was my favorite childhood games--loved to beat the boys, and at night, I'd set out my favorites just to look at and touch. What a great memory you have brought back with your poem.
Posted 09/23/2018 04:10 PM
Lori Levy:
Love "knees painted with kiss stains/of Earth." That says it all.
Posted 09/23/2018 01:17 PM
barbsteff:
Happy memories. Thanks!
Posted 09/23/2018 12:59 PM
cork:
Nice memories!
Posted 09/23/2018 10:25 AM
Sarah Russell:
In Michigan, we had a variation of the game that involved a hole dug in the sand, but yes, a sacred rite indeed! I was pretty good and had the advantage of ?Steelies?? ? ball bearings of various sizes my dad brought home from work. I still have the marble bag my mother made that I embroidered my initials on. Great memory, Dennis. Thanks!
Posted 09/23/2018 09:10 AM
Larry Schug:
Contrary to what some may think, I haven't lost my marbles. They're in a clear vase on the dining room table where they have not rolled or been flicked by thumbs with "knuckles in the dirt". thanks for a nice Sunday morning poem.
Posted 09/23/2018 08:09 AM


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