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No sooner through the door
than spider-legged anxiety
scurries back haphazard
like a frenemy whose cactus skin hug
begins in September and ends in July
Correlation does not imply causation.

Solid, strong, fact.

But when the month long grey veil
that smothered our holiday is hauled back
just as we return,
sun and fat heat to grill us in our ties and blazers,
I’m inclined, for once, to thumb my nose at science:

nature abhors term time
Aspiration? A tricky call.
I’m more than willing to give you a leg up,
but I can’t define where you’ll climb,
or I’ll be the *** who assumes

your *** might become an astronaut,
an assassin for hire,
or just gain enough cash to survive,
or be proudly working class,
or to clash with the establishment
and bring them crashing down
your *** might want to work
hard and fast
or be happy to rock up comfortably last
the amount of possibilities are vast
and equally valid and yours

I’ll lend a mind, some thoughts, some words to help
but for each self to realise themselves,
I’ll not assume,
we know what that would make us
How’s it going? Honestly?
C’mon, honest like 3 a.m. insomnia?

As the nights’ incremental dimming
draws us inwards,
how are you?

This idiot driven pantomime
of eighteen months
hit as hard as a guilt trip

So if you’re a little scarred,
a little scared,
it’s ok

They say that tomorrow is another day
which it is of course,
but the fear is it’ll send you
off course

But, my dears,
we’re all off course together

and who do I trust to help me
get back to happy paths?

Always, all ways
all of you x
As teachers,
(and I know some are back already, sorry)
we are doing the equivalent
of sportsfolk psyching up

Our judo coach is shaking and slapping
while we, in denial, are still mowing lawns
and planning actual meals from recipes

In our dreams, the Bueller…?
Bueller…? Bueller…?
reels are already playing
with our classes disobeying to our faces

So for everyone’s sake
ease us in please
keep us keen and we’ll deal with your progeny
‘til Halloween
I sat with another clip board, another list
welcoming those whose once small faces,
mad dashes, hot tears
and cold contempts
rattled these walls for five years

Some had beards, some hips, brio,
some adult eyes
that took two or three glances to recognise
the child still in

Almost all had smiles

Behind them, trooping colour to the tennis courts,
their summer school scions
began their own gangly rise
ad infinitum
Battered bookworms
turning a familiar turn
(always left)

For those that leave:
your threads become part of the tapestry,

a picture writ with deep love, excitement, applause,
dire fears and tiredness,

here be dragons and arrows in eyes

but despite the hamfists
of some intrusive hands,

there to see forever
Better than ****** Christmas
this six weeks that we continually justify
that stop our hands breaking,
the dying of hearts and minds

though in the middle
somewhere
when we regain our human form
sometimes storms rage a bit
and we stand, clifftop howling
at an unknown moon

on return we’ll have lost friends, loves,
yet be reborn to care, to teach,
to take the slings and arrows again
from this pauper’s fortune
Oh, my tired sisters and brothers
I know.
Each and every step and gesture
has hidden lead weights attached
and everything lifted now hurts

You are allowed the involuntary grunt
or voluntary tear as you stand,
all eyes and ears are itchy with
tired

There is still a smile allowed
as long as we keep an end in sight
My word
nothing does love/hate
quite as poetically
as a teacher reaching holiday’s end

intrinsic guilt of ‘not having done’
bound up with seeing our colleagues
loved and hated
again

and those ******, beautiful, ugly
broken-bright
impossible-everyday kids

my words
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