Morning is not my time of day,
That's when concepts float away,
Across the garden, down the lane,
Through the gate at Hester Payne's.
Teacher's pet and top pass,
Hester sits eyes front in class,
With rubbers straight and pencils sharp,
A clean page ready to start.
I, of course, am running late,
Hair a-fly, face scrubbed in haste.
Chasing my thoughts, I see them now,
Bouncing ahead: Where? Why? How?
Miss Armitage says I can do better,
Just follow her lead to the letter.
She raps twice: ’Attention, please!’
We all fall quiet - three sniffs, one sneeze.
’Now settle down, it's time to count.’
Braids and partings turn around
To face the board and I'm up first.
Chalk in hand, could things get worse?
In front of Danny, in front of Sue,
In front of Seamus. And you know who?
Three plus three, then five times six,
Square root of nine, just take your pick.
Six and...thirty...three, I'm sure.
Or was that seven? Maybe four.
My mouth goes dry, I stare and blink.
Lord knows, I find it hard to think.
Up the corridor, down the stairs,
Right then left, my thoughts in pairs,
Sift and swirl and giddy about.
’Behave yourself, now cut that out!’
’Come back here, where you belong.
Don't wonder off! Don't make me wrong!’
I scratch my answers, the class is aghast,
It seems I've something right at last.
Hester sighs, as glum as can be,
For today...this morning...for everyone to see,
My thoughts have stuck with me.