Saturday, 28 August 2010

English

A poem for the Poetry Bus, driven this week by Karen. I must admit it's not a new one, but it is about school. I was reminded of it as soon as I read the week's task...

English

One day at school
our english teacher
handed out the poetry books.

He made us read
a short, sad story of rejection
by one Wole Soyenka.

It seemed
a strange poem to find
in a place like that:
one of those grubby, hardback schoolbooks
full of poems about animals
full of in-your-face similes
illustrating the power of
the english language.

But then
it was not a poem,
the english teacher said. It was
just prose chopped up and
not a rhyme in sight.

He sucked his teeth, in case
a few stray syllables had lodged
between them.

22 comments:

Rachel Fenton said...

Some teachers have a way of culling creativity early. I like the ending very much.

The Bug said...

I love the ending too. An apt description of a certain type of teacher. I had a great creative writing professor at my small college - basically, we all just brought poems to class & sat in a circle & talked about them - we didn't dissect them or talk about form. It was great!

Karen said...

Oh, I love this ending! I can picture this guy -- wouldn't know a poem if it kicked him!

Niamh B said...

Absolutely great. Dental hygiene is so important when it comes to poetry

tony said...

Always Carry A Toothpick In Case Of Emergency!

Dave King said...

That last verse changes everything. Clever.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Haven't seen this before - love it.

Jinksy said...

Back to the age old question - when is a poem not a poem? To which there is actually no reply, as a poem is in the heart of the reader...

the watercats said...

ahhh.. teachers.. they can make you or break you. Love this poem, it's seriously pleasurable to read.

Gerry Snape said...

Love that last bit it makes the whole thing pop!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

mmm...had a few teachers like this. Guess he wouldn't be a member of the Dead Poet's Society. Very clever.

Rachel Fox said...

Aye, top use of the teeth!
x

Peter Goulding said...

He should have taught floss-ophy instead.
Sorry.

Rachel Fox said...

As you should be Peter Goulding! Stay behind after class and stand in the bin with a chair on your head!
x

crazyfieldmouse said...

Excellent stuff, I think you pretty much captured the school system in a nutshell there.
thanks for sharing
cfm

Martin H. said...

With teachers like this, I can see how stray syllables might get lodges between his teeth. I suspect words of praise got stuck in his throat, too.

Enchanted Oak said...

I agree with everyone else. Your terrible teacher sucking the syllables out of his teeth is brilliant. I feel like cheering. And "floss-ophy" really sucks. In a good way, I mean.

Doctor FTSE said...

Quite a lot of poetry is like that these days, innit?
But remember, Peter, poetry is Art. And Art, as someone whose name escapes me and doesn't matter, said, "Art is what you can get away with."

Totalfeckineejit said...

Loved that one Dominic.Great last lines.Really good!

Argent said...

Yep, that last bit got me too! Verryy good. I often wonder whether my efforts for the PB are just prose chopped up. What actually does make it a poem? Hmmmm. Food for thought.

patteran said...

A wonderful build towards the last line that disses so very effectively. I wish that in reading this poem he might feel scales falling from his eyes, but, alas...

John Hayes said...

A wonderful poem about poetry & creativity & what can happen in schoolrooms!