by Karen Luke Jackson

Dirt and stick
were all a farm child needed.
City kid? Just asphalt and chalk to
scotch a pattern like the one etched in
concrete at the Roman Forum. Nine blocks
stacked atop one another, some resting
side by side, the grid crowned with
a circle labeled London or
Heaven or Home.

Alone or with
friends, you tested
your skills: pitched

rocks sequentially into     blocks, hopped one- legged
without smudging a line, twirled round and retraced
your path, stopping only   to bend down and retrieve

your stone,
a marker for one’s
soul in China.

Tight fisted, exiting the       grid, your reward was to
repeat the moves until             your aim failed or you
spilled to the ground. No     referees or written rules

and when you
tired, you dragged
your foot

through the clay
or watched as
spring rain

washed the
lines away.

Karen Luke Jackson reconnected with the mystery and power of poems while attending and later facilitating Courage & Renewal® retreats for nonprofit leaders, educators, and clergy. She lives in Hendersonville, North Carolina, and delights in focusing her energy on mentoring, holy listening, and writing.

About Hopscotch—As a child I didn’t play a lot, so the assignment to write a poem about a favorite toy prompted me to reflect about what I did do. A favorite outside pastime was hopscotch. A little research revealed how old and universal this game is. Fellow students suggested I shape the original version into a concrete form.