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Monday 18 February 2013


The school bus comes,
the way it does each Thursday,
Autumn Term and Spring,
to whisk us to the public pitch,
my football group and me.

The boys spill out across the park,
clattering the tarmac with their studs -
except, of course, for Noah.
Noah checked out of life a time ago,
he watches from the sidelines, now,
cheers or boos as he thinks fit,
adds a comment here and there,
but refuses to take part.
His mates have changed their boots
on board the bus. Not he.
His trail behind him
bouncing over bumps and stones
on long entangled laces.

Noah likes a grandstand view,
and finds one in the nearest tree;
shins up it nimbly, boots and all,
and perches in a fork among the leaves.
Once. Twice. Three times I call,
inviting him to join us on the ground.
No way. Neither in word nor deed
comes a reply. (In thought, maybe,
but best to leave it. Go not there!)

So that is that. He will not come 
to harm. Nor will he perpetrate
harm, left alone. He's happy there.
(I'm not sure that these times
are helping him. The head, though, 
sees them differently. Press on!)
It's Noah's new life-style --
so one theory goes -- known
to some as non-alignment.

You cannot always out-guess life.
My last request was overheard.
A lady passing by - along the path,
as life would have it, right
beneath Noah's tree. She's heard
the end of it, is swathed 
in furs and tows a Pekinese the way 
Noah towed his football boots.
She looks up through the leaves.
Her voice is sweet -- as though
she wants to charm the birds:-

Why don't you be a good boy, now?
Come down and do what you are told?
Your teacher knows what's best. 
Noah knows some good invective,
when he thinks the time is right.
But even so, I have not heard
the like of this from him before! 
Suffice to say the stream begins with
And why the f*** don't you... 
Suggestions follow, some in the realm
of fantasy -- and hardly possible.

Would-be do-gooder, well-meaning 
to a T, the lady, gathering her furs
around her, gives the Pekinese
a tug that says let's go ,
resumes her progress through the park,
and snorts, but nothing like a lady,
as she passes me.


Brian Miller said...

you can not always out guess life...how true a statement sir. ha, and good on her in the end...lol...noah is quite the character isnt he...

Ygraine said...

I have to ask you, was 'Noah' based on a real boy?
He is such a character. And the story is brilliant...so funny!
I loved the ending, the bit with the lady. Isn't it strange how this grand lady was so easily toppled from her lofty do-gooder pedestal by Noah!! Hehe :D

Dave King said...

Yup, Noah was one heck of a character. Thanks for the observations.

Yes, Noah is as truthful as I can make him. I have not added anything. The only thing I have changed is his name and all I have omitted is his invective!
He was actually almost the first pupil I met when I made the change to Special Needs teaching. I went for interview at the school, was taken up to the interview room by a senior (11 year old) pupil, and passed Noah, curled up in a corner of a half landing, on the way.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Oh yes Dave- everyone has had a Noah if they have ever taught in Special Needs. This made me laugh.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I found myself wondering the same thing as Ygraine when I read this, but now I see from your response that Noah was indeed real. Great work as always.

Helen said...

I love the 'non-alignment' of Noah .. his utter independence! Having raised a special needs son, I can relate. A beautiful write!

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

A great, intrtiguing and utimately tremendously real character. Noah.

Dave King said...

The Weaver of Grass
Too true. Only too true! Thanks.

Optimistic Existentialist
Thanks for saying. Yes, indeedy, he was real alright!

Thanks Helen - a comment that means a lot!

Thanks for this. Yes, he was all you say.

Mary said...

Noah, definitely marches to his own drum. Hopefully the path where it led him in life brought him happiness. But in these things, one never knows. One thing IS certain though: "You can't outguess life." You really presented a good character study in this poem.