sent for by the headmaster

in trepidation I ventured forth

through unfamiliar blunted corridors

then finally to face the man

in tweed jacket, piercing glasses

smooth hair. 


his back was turned busy at a cupboard

I knew he kept his cane in there

instinct told me, amongst other

savage collectibles

known only to top men in charge.


then a brief acknowledgment

a surprise by way of his using my first name

a hint of pleasure and relief as he peeled off

a newly arrived small book 

of descant recorder tunes

for two players from Oxford University Press.


I thought we could run through a few of these

he said, and so we did in perfect concourse

like two birds tweeting in the stuffy air

with natural flair at my primary age

while nymphs smiled down from shelves


amongst sports cups, busts of the great composers.

He played the cello, lived on the river

watched us grow, looked after the teachers.

I was as good a reader as he, I knew

and he knew this too

this much only we shared. 






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Thu 26th Oct 2017 17:32

The great thing about WOL is the variety of comments, the squeezing out of memories fresh from the past. A very enlightening list in your case, Phiip. Thanks a lot. The idea of being caned for refusing it is Milliganesque.


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Wed 25th Oct 2017 22:03

HI Suki. Yes that is true and gives us more of a broad view of what we didn't know then. I'm pleased you like the reading - Such moments gave me cause to take up music !

Nice to hear that your memories were of a positive take Col. Lots of teachers at my secondary school used to strike us - probably more out of frustration than being planned . The recorders used en masse sounded terrible and had to be dipped in Dettol every lesson. Ghastly old chap!

That sounds rather ritualistic Harry! Horrors of the black museum. I think as long as we knew consequences we weren't damaged by them.

Thanks Stu. It was a bit like a dragon's den but turned out well!

Thanks too Emer and Desmond for your likes!


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Philip Stevens

Wed 25th Oct 2017 22:02

Ah school memories, lets see...

infant's...smacked across the legs ffor not closing my eyes, tight during the lords prayer

Juniors..stevens! Your writing looks like a spider has crawled out of an ink well and walked across the page

Senior school refusing the cane and geting the cane for refusing the cane

Being allowed to perform drama in English lessons by the best teacher by far..then getting groomed in the stock room by the same teacher... he never got me though

Ah school memories...

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Stu Buck

Wed 25th Oct 2017 07:09

very clever piece, reeks of nostalgia and heady notes played joyfully on well strung instruments. as it were.

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Harry O'Neill

Tue 24th Oct 2017 17:19

Ray, when this happened to me it was the headmistress
.She produced the cane, bent me over a little chair, and gave me a good whacking (for sagging school for six weeks)...sadly it was fully deserved.

<Deleted User> (13762)

Tue 24th Oct 2017 08:42

nice one Ray - you had me walking the corridors of my own primary. My headmaster was a lovely chap who probably never owned a cane but instead instilled a different sort of discipline based on hard work and respect and religion. That last one only rubbed off on me for a sort time. He also helped me through some dark times so I have much to thank him for. I was crap at the recorder though. C😃L

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suki spangles

Tue 24th Oct 2017 04:20

Hi Ray,

Isn't it amazing how childhood memories stay with us, so much so that we can easily evoke such times as if they happened yesterday. It's a cliché, but it's true.

Wonderfully read; the right side of wistful. A beautifully descriptive piece, and a lovely story too.

in trepidation I ventured forth
through unfamiliar blunted corridors..

Top of the class!


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