Message To My Teachers

During my lifetime, teachers have been kings.
Mr. Ellison, with his football obsession, dared
declare the Father worse than der Führer.
Across the hall, Mr. Summerhayes gave us life
lessons, like adults have first names too.

Paul was next in line. A stoker of fiery debate –
he painted landscapes on political wings,
propaganda and the bluebirds of South Wales.
He tried his best but Pete pulled me aside
when depression began to blacken my mind.

Bigger steps made things more complex.
But he welcomed me back to his class,
always asked how my mother was doing,
embraced my erratic emails and career plans,
until we lost contact after his retirement party.

Now I write this poem from a pit of shame –
a decade on and my destiny remains lost.
Sometimes I meet royalty again in the shops.
My head is hung and my words are cut short.
I’ll never stop trying to be what you thought.