Let the Children Play – NaPoWriMo 2017, Day thirteen – prompt: a ghazal

Petra, ride me down the river

Ride a cross crocodile

Let the Children Play


Daedalus, master craftsman, ready for flight; his son for play.

Feathers and wax combined; man’s escape and angels at play.


Forever the arts capture a father’s unnecessary intemperate loss.

Oh, foolish youth, the heat of the sun, never approach for play.


Now one boy, forever, on his dead shoulders lays a broken trust.

It was not normal. Few children over-reaching the borderlines of play.


Daedalus, your name is less familiar; seldom ever do you get a mention.

He was vigilant of his son, knew the headiness of unreasonable play.


He was paternal, punctilious, seeking to shield, not control.

How devastating his son ignored the rules of all good play.


Centuries after, parents go beyond the conscientious.

The rules are extended to a squeamish suspicion of play.


A video in social media comes to my attention, headiness under enlightened direction.

Many small children running and sliding in wet muddy joyful impromptu play.


They will be prepared, educated in silly behaviour and risks.

They will know what goes beyond the boundaries and joy in play.


Over the centuries we have followed Daedalus, through sad Icarus.

Not every child is an outrageous Icarus testing the extreme limits of play.


Salubrious, my childhood for we were not deterred from our roving.

Schoolmates and Bin’s siblings look back on the freedom of long and fabulous hours of play.

Benita H. Kape © 13.4.2017

My nickname at primary school was Bin.

Petra, into the mouth of the unknown

Teach them not to be fearful

Today’s is an oldie-but-a-goody: the ghazal. The form was originally developed in Arabic and Persian poetry, but has become increasingly used in English, after being popularized by poets including Agha Shahid Ali. A ghazal is formed of couplets, each of which is its own complete statement. Both lined of the first couplet end with the same phrae or end-word, and that end-word is also repeated at the end of each couplet. If you’re really feeling inspired, you can also attempt to incorporate internal rhymes and a reference to your own name in the final couplet. Here are a few examples – Evie Shockley’s “where you are planted,” Ali’s “Tonight,” and Patricia Smith’s “Hip Hop Ghazal.”