written by: Mike Bell
It was in the cloakroom,
aged five, where I cried,
not wanting to be there,
tearful in that mote-strung light.
We were surrounded by the shed skins
of other children, labelled,
those hook-hung anoraks,
into registered obedience,
unto the vast common hall,
beam-vaulted, a Victorian school,
I now know this hind-sighted as I am.
It was almost a prayer-free church,
with a never-trod office
stuck high in the wall, accessed,
it appeared, by God’s stairway.
And off that open space
high window-fitted doors
invited shy glances into classes,
but were beyond my height.
Did I hold Dad’s hand as he walked
with me through low furniture?
It made him an even bigger giant
in my small space.
We were shown past crate-piled milk,
bottled, to be expertly straw-poked,
unless as I later learned,
the birds got there first:
Sun-warmed, a gloop of cream on top,
the sure-indicator but never off,
that first lesson
in my infant education.
It is not what I am paid to do
It requires a daily commitment
I cannot complete a crossword, but I will attempt to complete verse complexities
My children will need something to fill the vacuum we all create
These words help me to cry out, cry, and work out why
If I make someone respond, then I will have lived a life worthy of a life.