THE SILENT CLASSROOM

CHRIST CHURCH KINDERGARTEN - 1952 

'Jesus wants me for a sunbeam' - Talbot 

Last night I dreamed of Christ Church
again. The fabulous nightmare
of a cathedral school, the hard flagstones
of the lunch yard, the solemn half-lit
cold benches of the chapel for morning
devotion, the dark cassock of a solemn priest,
the smoking pomander and the bells.
Where I shrank shivering during those long
           
interminable whispered incantations of ritual
and prayer. And never wept once.
To morning break with my regulation
blue floral drawstring bag beneath a leafless
           
English Ash. The sweet sharp zest of mandarin
in the slight fingers of a child lost in
the lachrymose of loneliness where then I cried
as a child cries, in the schoolyard.
           
And all that remains now is the unaccountable
smell of mandarins. Wanting my mother:
knowing even then there was nothing else here
that really mattered.

SCHOOL CLEANER

You are a final note
on an intricate chord
of wires, brooms and bags

your vacuum cleaner
plays out
an everyday recessional

your work has the sanction
of ordinariness
and grace

your smile
is a seal of approval
on the stations of the school

you are a final blessing
and benediction
on the closing of the day.

 
 
 
© 2020 Jeff Guess