Sarah Potter Writes

Pursued by the Muses of prose and poetry

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.


    • 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.


  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!


    • 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.


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

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