We lived among the stink-bomb trees.
In the first few years they provided us with ammunition.
Then when our society had become more established
we used their pods for trade.
We ostracised those who still threw them
and who stuck the seeds in your hair.
We were more civilized.
Soon our great period of exploration began.
There were uncharted areas behind the pool
and a circumnavigation of the entire playground
taking in the new staffroom building was discussed.
Expedition parties were sent out daily around lunchtime.
Stink-bombs were collected
and hidden in holes in the trees with other valuables,
like marbles and bottle-caps.
It was thought unlikely that we would encounter trading partners,
and, anyway whatever gain might have been derived from commerce
around the outside of the playground lay in the future.
Our missions were mounted in the spirit of pure exploration.
We came to the outer boundary of the stink-bomb trees.
After passing through a particularly dense tract
behind the pool,
suddenly we stood in sunlight.
Before us was the school fence,
its wire-netting torn by night-time hooligans,
and below that a bank of toi-toi and flax descended to the road.
It was hard to turn around after seeing what we had seen.
We had reached the edge of the world.
We could easily have crawled through the fence
to the freedom beyond.
To think that now we had to try and retrace our steps
through thick and uninhabited stink-bomb trees
to be back before the bell
made us all feel slightly sick.
But that was exactly what we did.
And what drove us on
was the vision we each kept in our minds
of our little hordes of valuables in holes
waiting for us at home…
in the civilized parts
of the stink-bomb world
around the outside of the playground.