Because Poets Always Stay
I spoke nothing I really thought anymore;
I’d been silenced.
I was leaving, this was not a place I could stay;
A dust track of chalk trodden down footprints,
End of the line,
Crumbs thrown at us, till I refused to pick them up.
And who was I to talk?
They had no voice.
They talked of SATS
And I was not listening.
My voice had quietened to a whispering jailbird of doom;
An angry morsel.
I spat out every modal verb and underlined it in red.
Red for blood, sweat and tear.
I tutted with every sentence;
With SATS on one side, and children without breakfast in their tummies on the other.
Eyes wide with poverty,
Imagination had been eaten away at their feet,
Spoken of but never heard, these dark-eyed children.
The noisy clutter of data collection, louder than any voice here.
Circles of pen marked points missed,
And number-fed rooms.
Time, space gone
Saved for nothing but tick boxes
I needed time to breath.
This classroom air these days, a gas chamber chocking me with
A thousand twisted hands around my throat,
With tattooed fingers of bureaucracy
And paper lists,
I knew the poets sang;
Their voices were ever heard.
Repeated through the years.
And mouths watered for their soliloquies of hope.
I would dream of only that now-
To be filled up till I was full.
And I would share every fullest mouthful of that feast.
Words would find me.
And I would reach for them,
Until we meet again;
Find the poets!
The strongest voice above my head
As I looked up to heaven,
And it looked down on me,
Until I could not ignore it any more.
I had time to breathe and read the air
As it fed my soul-
A nourishment I savoured.
And now I could fill hungry heads again;
Replenished, renewed and rebirthed.
Poets found, made and told.
Not leaving; staying
Not gone; present
Not behind; in front
Not silent; heard
Not over; just beginning,
Because poets always stay!