Dovedale Road School

Did you go to Dovedale Road school?
Play three balls against the wall,
or shooting halfpennies?
Playground now seems rather small it was huge back
then and the green huts!
A teacher asked us which would fall fastest
a pound of lead or a pound of feathers,
didn’t tell us they were both in a bag!
How stupid I felt, face burning up at the ridicule,
wonder if George fell for that one?
Or if Mr Bolt marched him up and down the
wood corridor like a toy soldier, then made him sleep for ten minutes
head buried in hands on a splintered wood desk with iron hoops at the side.
Didn’t dare peek... his stick would come down, 'Crash,'
making all of us jump.
Then he’d pull tarnished vellum charts down from the ceiling and
we’d learn that bananas didn’t come from Garston market
and he’d trace the route with his stick through great seas
then let us out for play, without any bananas.
And the lad with red hair in the playground running for all his life,
body twisted round making a furious gesture with two fingers at some bullies. Looked very odd to me.
Better by far to watch the girls playing toss-up,
grey skirts tucked into blue knickers.
I always wished I could be the one to catch their legs,
but played footy instead, my new blazer a goal post till
Mr Bolt came out, and made us go to sleep again.

By B. Anderson