When many years ago I was running a ‘writing our way whole at home’ session on ‘entitlement’,’ a friend and I were coming up with wonderful titles that begged to be written towards (or under).

One of my favorites was ‘explaining the crocodile’, about my son’s familiar tendency in childhood to explain away scary things – in an bid to self-soothe and to manage the anxieties of life. A tendency inherited from his mother, of course.

Which Is why I felt so enraged when the headteacher objected to the way my five-year-old had “disturbed the other children” when explaining said crocodile, which appearing scarily in a Punch and Judy show shared in the school assembly hall (“as a treat”).

This was 1980s. Would all that baby-bashing and marital violence be allowed now, not to speak of the terrifying reptile, surely an endangered species?

(As I remember from my own childhood distaste, the puppet characters were Punch, Judy, the Baby, the Crocodile and the Policeman. Any more? Was there a Dog, with or without a pack of Sausages?)

All this came back to me tonight when reading De Jackson’s punchy prompt at dVerse Poets Pub: a quadrille (44 word-er) containing a punch-word.

So in haste – I offer this in crocodile green:

On a 'Punch-and-Judy' show offered in far-too-little grade

My son stood up, and in the Hall;
declaimed (in courage at his infant fear)
to any children who might hear:
"The crocodile, he isn't real;
a story, only. Don't be 'fraid!"
Contrite at moth'ring such a whole-punch sage,
suppressed I wounded, violent rage.

© Kathy Labrum McVittie 19 September 2022