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Friday, 9 August 2013
A Funny Thing
In a week or so
children in the playground
will flee before him
like chicks before
some predatory bird --
or stutter to a stop
by threatening looks.
Now here he comes, the new
to share my dinner duty
for the first time. Beneath
his arm the sin-black... what
this time? A Bible? Prayer Book?
Hymn book? Or Detention Journal?
The children wait with patience
to queue up at the serving hatch
one table at a time. But first,
the Holiest of matters: Grace.
All eyes are closed -
except of course, for a few sinners.
I'm looking at you bunch of miscreants
back there! Delinquents..! reprobates..!
and I'm not liking much
the transgressing that I see. And
what occurs to me is that
Almighty God is looking at you too -
and He's not liking what He sees,
and your immortal souls are hanging
in the balance here!
Thwack! The hymnal lands a direct blow.
(On what I cannot say,
but the whole dining hall
is suddenly electrified.)
The children shiver in their most
impressive Holy Manner.
So now you've met him:
Mr Fulcher, Responsible
for discipline around the school.
Fourteen Christian names, he has --
Which maybe why I can't remember one
of them! Each one a saint, none known to me.
The children have their own,
a fifteenth name for him.
To them he is The Vulture.
Now here's the funny thing:
while all but one class in the school
will hate and fear the man
that one small group (his class --
and later on, all those who ever
were in his class)
will see a different side,
will come to love,
adore the man, and hear no wrong
in him at all.