Ninja Training

Waking very early, my young son calls me to his room because he’s seen “… a deer-fly on the land-rover”.

There is no land-rover: was this a dream? “No”, he says, “…over there on the radiator”.

There is no deer-fly. I put on the lights and search the room.

No fly.

Sensei wakes, joins us and tells how they, on waking early a few days earlier, unable to sleep, walked to the coast. Sensei says we should go – “We should all go!”

My son, unprompted, says we should go using ‘stealth’. He “…has been practising stealth…” to slip between here and there.

I reveal to my son our Ninja heritage. Our afternoons out doing Archery is really weapons training – our Ninja family weapon of choice. I tell him his siblings have already embarked upon their Ninja training, but that he is yet to start. Perhaps he is now old enough to begin.

I suggest that we should use our early morning walk as an opportunity for my to start his Ninja training – and we do!




In dark-silent paths we moon-light walk

Where shadows tread and quietly talk

Of stealth and movement freeze and dance

Between the sleepers each flows a chance

We stop and look then quietly ride

Undetected twixt each tree’s shadow-slide

To arrive at last where we will reach

This night’s lesson – upon the beach

Not leaving footsteps upon the sand

We walk and run and jump and land

Our only witness the roaring waves

The towering dunes and quiet glades

Quick-silvered moonlight – each wave-crash

Drowns our movement and each bright flash

Distracts the attention of one that strolls

At this early hour, but away we roll

Not silent – muffled and mistakes lost

Amid the crash of wave-foam tossed

As cicada announces the coming day

Inland we slip with the pale sea haze

With steady sureness as dew’s drip

With the breeze to our home we quietly slip

And all the way play our silent games

You crouch by the bamboo – my shadow framed

But coming our way – why it’s Superman!

With his cape he sways onwards feeling grand

Looking up from his stop, feeling fully relieved

Superman meets two Ninja’s – why you’d never believe!!

That moment we choose to step into the light

He stops startled – a moment – considers the sight

Black figures stand frozen invoking power stance

Ninjas! This day and age – just what is the chance?

His Adam’s Apple suppresses his up-rising fear

He considers his life and just what he holds dear

With a tear in his eye, he blinks, shaking his head

The ninjas have gone … if they ever existed

“Gotta stop drinking this stuff ” – stumbling on

Looks at his bottle and then he is gone


The Middle-aged Ninja

I live on your road

and walk down your street

but when I walk along

I just watch my feet

just like you

so that I blend in

so you’d never guess

the world I live in.

And in plain sight

just like each tree

I have obvious


Not in shadows

but in sunlight gold

though it could be said

that I am far too old:

In the park

I sit upon the swings

or upon the bench

letting my mind sing

Then with my children

playing at their games

will walk tight-rope

across the climbing frame

then from rock to rock

will I jump and hop

look carefully for

in mid-air I’ll stop!

And the leaves that –

are blowing on the breeze

and the flying birds

will also freeze –

then carry on

as if with no care

but now I am standing

over there!

Now the kids come running

wanting tea

they hold my hand

I am back being ‘me’

then as the sunlight

is growing old

and cold black shadows

creeping – lengthen bold

encourage them

despite the fall

to walk along

the old stone wall

for where is there

not to be found

for the whole world is

just a big playground!