I can remember my concentration as a kid:
the furrowed brows, the ink dipped hands;
each word learned was a ray of sunlight
on an unknown land.
I would pine for a star for my stories,
gold was the best: a literary buttercup
held under the chin, a light from the source
of wisdom's origin: Miss Sharp.
Her marks were the only standard I knew -
her ticks and crosses they were always true.
Nothing relative there:
the absolute sang from the morning hymns
to the closing of books and the school bell's rings;
time was the hands on the cardboard clock
and space was the black around Miss Sharp's chalk.
Where's it all gone?
Is this the same world as that glimpsed in the dreams
of a sleepy boy in sandals and shorts
a striped school tie and knee length socks?
Of course not - the past is a dog-eared jotter
full of puerile writing and wonky margins.
Yet mine all the same: lolling home from school
striking matches in secret, and further back
an anxiety attack on the pavement.
Ah, where are they now, Miss Campbell and Miss Sharp?
Has cancer gripped them? Are they walking their dogs?
Have they been mown down by a road hog?
Perhaps being young wasn't good after all.
They used to shout if you said the word "fag",
the silly old bags.
And who the hell were they to give out those stars?
All day gazing in the blank void of space
using metaphors as telescopes
to peer into time's secrets
and I've illuminated nothing - I'll go to the bar.
I'd hoped to find truth in childhood.
(Return to find light from afar).