The First Day
Shaking year sevens, shoulders hunched,
Jostled into lines by a whistle’s shriek.
Given pegs, lockers, vouchers for lunch,
Timetables, maps, rules. Assembly time.
Look up, to Head of Lower School.
Sing a hymn, welcome speech,
Feel dwarfed in the massive hall.
‘Let us pray.’ First period French.
Children move, teachers are static.
Je m’appelle Paul, Je m’appelle Anna.
Break, bleak, no friends. Mathematics.
Shepherd’s pie, lumpy semolina.
P.E, shower, naked, together.
Hurry, hurry, still wet to English.
Mr Jones, reads, could listen forever.
History, Victorian era.
The first day at school is done;
A weight of homework still to do.
No playing in September sun,
Stand tall and proud the battle won.