Saturday, December 8, 2012


It’s blue, it’s there like a stone,
as inert and dead as a bone
on the table in the teachers’ room.
Teachers must check and double-check,
with the same care riders have for their
horse’s girth, what is written in it,
this is the headmaster’s law, take it or leave it
( leave it if you can, leave it all –said to me a friend,
but that was ages and ages ago when” I
was young and foolish”).
So I enter the room, leaf through the book’s pages
still with my coat on and get to the call
of my latest duties beyond the regular teaching,
assemblies, reunions, what the headmaster wants,
whether I like it or not. I never like it.
The word “ unfair” keeps hanging stubbornly
like a sting, in my heart and in the air.
It has been hanging for many a decade,
will it keep hanging until I fade?
At the end of the year the book is thick
with the pages of orders pasted in it.
Bones never grow in the earth, they
get yellower and smoother, solemn
in their motionlessness.
This book gets bloated like the corpse
of a drowned man.
Burn, burn the corpse if you can.


Dave King said...

This has very strong echoes of my early teaching days. It's not so today. Today each member of staff must have a job description - and if it's not on the job description, you can't be compelled to do it. It is also on the JD that you are assessed.

Crafty Green Poet said...

You portray so well here the book of rules that are outdated and unexamined.

When I was teaching in Malawi, I was assigned the role of buying the tea for the staff tea club.... Probably because I'm English it was seen as appropriate...