Sarah Potter Writes

Pursued by the Muses of prose, poetry, and music.

Schools, serpents, and sins

Castle Lower School, Goldington Road, Bedford ...

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All things bright and beautiful

We plough the fields and scatter

*

Do you remember singing those words as a child

  when God was bound in a school hymn book

with a peeling spine and ink-blotted pages

and the teacher played wrong notes on an out-of-tune piano

in a draughty hall with carved wood panels on the walls,

silver cups in glass cases and grave governors

staring down at you from dark oil paintings,

and how, when a truant child sneaked in late,

the wafting smells of disinfectant, Ibcol toilet paper,

and overcooked cabbage gave them away?

*

Do you remember wondering,

between your giggles and daydreams,

what God had thought about

when working his purposes out

if school teachers were the result?

*

Then you’d remember the apple with a bite out of it

turning brown and gathering wasps under Miss Stokes’ desk

and the way she hissed knowledge at you like a serpent,

to feel the stirrings of a vague concept immediately lost

amidst the final amen, scraping chairs, and school bells.

Česky: Toaletní papír English: Toilet paper Es...

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5 thoughts on “Schools, serpents, and sins

  1. Wonderful sketch. Great work. I like the bit about the door opening and the smells coming in.

    Like

    • Thanks. Glad you liked it:-)

      To this day, I hate the smell of schools.

      I’ve also got a sketch/poem about a rather interesting school chaplain, which doubtless I’ll post at some stage.

      Like

  2. I’m awash with images from my school days! I particularly remember the school custard, not just your standard stuff but green (no real different taste for some reason) strawberry and choccy custard that always had a skin on it!

    Like

    • The sponge pudding with choccy sauce was my favorite. All the other girls were on diets, so I used have three helpings of most puddings and make them all wild because I didn’t put any excess weight on.

      My worst memory was of the gristle and fat in stews. I used to spit it out into my napkin and bury it under leaves behind a shed in the school playground. I also hated rhubarb because it looked like a picture from my biology book of the cross section of bicep muscles.

      I’ve always had a very visual imagination. There are certain things that my family are not allowed to mention at dinner table – especially insects.

      Like

  3. Pingback: Hogwarts School of Wizardry, I Wish! | sarahpotterwrites

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