The blog was going to be taking a break today, because I have a unicorn wines post in the queue but I haven’t finished writing it yet. Then I logged onto Twitter and saw that it’s Teacher Appreciation Day, so I thought I’d share a poem I wrote about the teachers at my old school, who were utterly fantastic and without whom I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t be alive.
it has been ages since i have felt
the grass beneath my feet.
a long time since i have stood, helplessly laughing,
as someone drenches me with a garden hose.
a long long time since someone broke an egg over my head
and used it as shampoo.
an even longer time since i watched my father fixing the seat of my little pink bicycle
and ran around the garden
with my curls bobbing in the wind.
it’s been a short time since i left the school i called my home
a short time since i walked the corridors late at night when everyone had left
and early in the morning before they got there.
not long at all since i swung the hoover again and again over the floors
and sang castle on a cloud.
a short time has passed since i called alana by her surname
since she stood outside the classroom watching silently as i cleaned
and sang of hoping for a better day.
since she saw me walking down the corridor
bent over with the weight of all the things in my heart
and snapped at me lovingly “scarlett! head up!”
i still think of that
when life becomes tiring
when i walk down the street and find myself looking at the floor.
i think of sally and her own brand of concern,
of brigitte, nina, wendy
and the time they spent ensuring i was ok
even when i wouldn’t let them
(especially when i wouldn’t let them).
of mark and tracy, who wouldn’t let me give up on myself
even when i broke
even when i couldn’t stand it anymore
mark would make snipping scissor motions with his fingers:
‘do you want to be a hairdresser?’
tracy, making me smile
showing me how to understand
that i didn’t have to apologise
of joe, who gave me the key to the little hut
and told me it wasn’t alarmed
when he found me sitting outside the school door at 6am
for the fourth week running.
i went to the hut that evening
and opened the door
inside the cupboard at the back was a duvet and a pillow.
they made me understand kindness, these people
the ones i knew cared, even when i wouldn’t really let them.
they taught me so much more than their lessons contained
held me up to the window and showed me the light of day
through the cracks.
bided my time
held on with them behind me
my silent guardians, watching, willing me collectively on.
i want to do them proud
they are what keeps me going
when i see them again
i feel how others must feel when they go home.
these people are more than my friends
more than my surrogate parents, even
they have been my saviours through the years
when i was too tired or too naive to save myself.
i have no words, really
to express the gratitude i feel towards them.
and yet somehow i must write something
even though it can’t come anywhere close
to what i’d like
i guess really
that the only thing i can say to all of them
i love you all
and thank you
more than you will ever
You can find more of my poems on Hello Poetry.
Tell me about the teachers who inspired you.