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Thursday 28 March 2013
Colour-blind - or Simply Racist?
First day, first special school,
I make my way to the first floor.
The first half-landing gives a view
of fists and feet employed in anger
in the playground way below.
At first just two or three boys,
but multiplying as I watch. No sign
of staff. (I'm hoping that's
unusual.) I'd better to the fray.
Beyond the main doors: steps, broad
and semi-circular, descending to
the battlefield, make grandstand seats
from which to watch the show unfold.
I stand above it all and call,
in my best Sunday foghorn voice,
for Silence! The insurgency falls quiet.
All eyes towards the stranger in their midst.
From somewhere at the back, a small quiet voice.
It carries: Could he be the right man for
the job? I do the usual thing
(remembered from my visit for the interview):
pick out the boys I think responsible
and send them to the first floor hall.
They've done the usual thing and spaced
themselves along the full length of the hall.
I'm wondering what would the usual next
thing be, when as I enter, the nearest boy
accuses me: You've only picked on us
because we're black! I look along
the line. The first six boys are black -- and I,
until this moment, had not noticed. Owch! But
now, at the far end, boy number seven --
sigh of bless'd relief -- I see is white as I.
So why, I ask, did I choose him?
You can't pretend he's black!
Back comes the quick reply. Nah sir,
you picked on him because he's Irish!
Written for Poetry Jam where this week's challenge is to write on the usual and/or unusual.