Rough Justice at Durnford Street High

Rumours ran wild as to why the fight occurred

The slander of another’s mother or something equally absurd

A disrespected reputation, a wrong look or a wrong word

An insult from one antagonist aimed at the other’s bird


In the schoolyards farthest corner, over by the fence

Sumo like they circle, their faces grim and tense

Muscles bunched, teeth bared, fists clenched and then unclenched

Looking for an opening, gauging weaknesses and strengths


As far away as possible from the prying, watching eyes

Of Vigilant Dinner Ladies and pet like Teachers spies

A gang of kids in the know, hang around nearby

Anticipating and waiting for the fur and feathers to fly


The cry of “FIGHT!” goes up, the gloves are off and cast away

Like a cackle of screeching Hyena’s, onlookers rush into the fray

And form a writhing man made arena to stage this gladiatorial play

A ring of ignorant, belligerent, boisterous, boys braying for the slay


Gusto and guts make up, for inexperience and lack of skill

Arms rotating and flailing like the spinning sails of a mill

A cacophony of unbroken voices screeching, shrieking, shrill

The crowd surging, urging, lusting for blood and baying for the kill


The two challengers are faced off and standing toes to toes

Matching tactics of Attack! Attack! a relentless trading of blows

When a vicious high swinging haymaker is planted squarely on a nose

A cartilage crunching nose breaker, bloody petals blooming like a rose


Dazed, confused, bewildered, bemused and reeling from the crack

He's falling and stumbling into the crowd who promptly propel him back

Quick witted he uses his new found momentum to launch a counterattack

His head collides with his rivals lips, and they kiss with a sickening smack


Then above all the chattering monkeys a baritone thunders "Enough"

Mr Brisk the headmaster and Mr Simpson PE have stepped in and parted the toughs

They are forcefully marched to the schoolhouse restrained by their collars and cuffs

 The punishment for fighting is six with the cane some say that the justice is rough


Others say twelve year olds ought to know better and high spirits need to be crushed


corporal punishment

◄ Dying Art

Ee By Gum ►


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John McDonough

Tue 5th Mar 2019 22:46

Thanks for the encouraging feedback folks love it when a poem hits the mark and resonates with likeminded souls.

Dorothy congratulations on the poem of the week a well deserved accolade for a well crafted poem 👍

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keith jeffries

Tue 5th Mar 2019 22:41


This poem takes me back to the play ground of my Lancashire Secondary School in the early 1960´s. In fact your description drove me back there at high speed. Highly descriptive and accurate concerning events in those days. Our headmaster strode across the play ground siezed hold of the belligerents and frog marched to his study where we all heard the mighty thwack of the cane. These events were rare and the cane seldom used, but we knew it was there.

Thank you for this


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Jason Bayliss

Tue 5th Mar 2019 19:11

I can remember this scene (or one like it so vividly). Well done mate. Mind you, in those days we'd have a, "reckoning," in the playground and shake hands not long after, some of my better friends were made this way. But there were rules, no kicking people when they're down etc. Loved it.😀

J. x

<Deleted User> (21487)

Tue 5th Mar 2019 17:28

You have done it again, you have painted a picture that builds and builds.
It can even be heard.

We shared your playground with you -
- shame your boys weren't given a lesson on 'make up and mend fences' but I suppose it reflects upon the time when 'beat it out of 'em' was the answer to everything.

Did some one say - "Didn't do me no harm?"
- yes it did.

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