Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The Comfort of Cold Porcelain

The sinks and basins, milky-lime,
And teachers talk by them at night.
The school, blackcovered and sleeping tight
Won’t whisper till the dawn hour chimes

We are sleeping.

In carrier bags thick fleeced with foam
Each bunk bed forms a cosy home.
Paired friends at top and bottom lie
And kiss the glowing day goodbye.
One, lonely now, will read his book,
And hug his pillow, and find a nook
There resting, feeling wrapped and warm
And no-one hears the tapping storm
That flutters snow on thinstrip glass
All warmth is here, now school has passed.

The teachers stand and talk at night
By milk-lime basins and hard strip light
One chews a sweet, another coughs
And all look bleary, worn and lost.

The wall a creeping spider bears
A blackhard pip under the glare
It finds the dark, and in its lair
Hides hopeful eggs beneath the stairs

Old school,
Wooden school,
Teak polished to a finish -
The sleeping children lose the day
And teachers stoop, diminished.