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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
alarming deputy,
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.


Brian Miller said...

ha. i was not liking the man at first with his fourteen names...i am glad though that the one group gets to see that other side of him...it makes him almost human...smiles.

Mary said...

Reminds me of a VERY strict English teacher I had in high school. Many hated her, but I grew to really respect her; and it was she who truly IS responsible for my love of poetry, I think. She loved poetry, had us memorize poetry weekly, etc. Many considered her an 'old bat' (or worse, and people tried to avoid getting HER for a teacher. She was the ONLY teacher I wrote a letter to about 15 years after I graduated....and thanked her. She (retired by then) wrote back and told me that she and her sister had just visited Walden Pond (of Thoreau fame). Even in retirement, she LIVED English!! Sorry about my digression, Dave. But I CAN understand your poem!!

kaykuala said...

It is very necessary that strict discipline be meted out. Results, good results are seen many years later. It can't be helped that they are called names as normally the case. Great write Dave!


Rachna Chhabria said...

I had a very strict teacher. A disciplinarian is necessary for good results. Nice poem.

Elephant's Child said...

Perhaps it is just me. I am seeing yet another side. The stern disciplinarian, the wonderful man that his class(es) came to know and love and the cult leader, brain washer and dominator.
Thanks Dave - there is always so much more to learn about people, even the ones we think we know.

Cloudia said...

They judge who know not.
Nice lesson in verse.
(I've seen infinitely worse :)

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° >

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

A great picture with a remarkable observation-teaching as a perfect conclusion. Dickens in the background this time, with its full colour brush.

Ygraine said...

We had a teacher just like him when I was at school - except that ours was female!
And do you know what?
Exam results of her class were consistently the highest in the school...because we DAREN'T get it wrong!!!

A Cuban In London said...

This brought back memories of being hit by my primary school teacher. Sometimes she would pull my (almost non-existent) hair. And all with the blessing of my two parents. I quite liked the contrast of the opening lines of your poem with the ending. It shows that no everybody is a baddie in the typical sense.

Greetings from London.