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September 8, 2006

Mrs Howison from the Highlands;
her heaven chimed with Devon,
mine with midden.

Mrs McCanna, no stranger to a fish supper,
skin clammy with salt’n’vinegar,
declared me out-of-order.

Mr Beckham replaced his stroboscope
with a boy, propped on a box,
set to shout ‘flash’ every five seconds.

Mrs Cash balanced breasts and maths
on my shoulder until I keeled over
on first contact with her mouthwash.

These were my teachers
and I have spent my life unlearning
every lesson they taught me.

Today, in a grocery store, a stone’s throw
from Turin’s multi-ethnic
a child barged into me at the fish-counter.

Scusa, I said, with enough sarcasm
to poison an ocean.
He didn’t even look at me.

Foreigner of shit! he replied
in BBC vowels, and I wondered
who had taught him that one.

by Rob A. Mackenzie of Surroundings

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  1. L M
    September 9, 2006 at 9:30 am

    Heh. I loved this. Got me thinking about my own early schoolteachers… I like the balance here between the first half – almost a nursery rhyme of Dr. Seuss characters – and the second half, now a grownup’s view of the unruly child.

  2. September 12, 2006 at 4:58 pm

    Yes, this has humour and draws forth one’s own recollections of teachers past – well done!

  3. Rob
    September 18, 2006 at 3:52 pm

    LM and marja-leena
    Thanks for commenting. Much appreciated.

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