In 1960’s Singapore, television programs came on only after 6.00 PM. Therefore, during the day we children came up with all sorts of creative pursuits to amuse us. We referred to these as ‘seasons’. We had a ‘season’ for everything – spiders, fighting fish, picture cards, cycling. No one knew how each ‘season’ starts but each seemed to have a live of its own and we simply followed.
One such ‘season’ was kite flying – during the windy months of November through February. Of course, back then we made our own kites. We fashioned these with ‘tracing paper’, rice glue and bamboo sticks. We crushed glass powder, mixed with egg white and smeared this thick glue on thread to form sharp razor like ‘cutters’. Then we would do battle – trying to ‘cut’ the threads of competitors. Of course, once the thread is cut and the kite loose, it becomes a chaotic situation as every kid scrambled after the free-floating kite.
Then, there were the trees – every ready to snare and shred our kites…
The WIND CATCHER by Eric Alagan Copyright @2011 by Eric Alagan
With furtive glances, the eager fingers fashioned,
A contraption of paper, bamboo and rice glue,
Crushed glass and egg white.
Smeared on threaded talons, dried, brittle, razor sharp,
The trapper released into the sunny blue sky,
A trap to catch you, Wind.
Approaching cautiously, sniffing and caressing,
Growing bolder, tossing it heavenwards, you did
To tear asunder the paper on bamboo glued,
Entwined you were like a fly in a webbed battle,
Hunter and hunted.
Tossing, twisting, darting and climbing ever high,
Holding fast, the catcher parried and teased the trap
Enraging you red.
Enthralling the crowd below, upturned and wide eyed,
You veered to snare with lure of grasping branches, but
Talons shredded leaves.
Drained, you succumbed to exhaustion and limped away,
A tamed breeze, swore you did your nemesis again
To meet next year, hence.
A voice rose anxious and vexed, summoning the brood
Home, trapper and kite, the combatant shouldered high,
Games done, I ran home.
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Feel free to post your comments. Thank you, Eric