Monday, 28 September 2015

A Box of Clouds - Sonia Phillips

To teach is
To make wings for ideas,
Watching with joy as fearful cocoons break

And out thoughts fling;
To steer them into unlimited air...

Hearing the silent Ding!
Of understanding lighting up eyes
And guiding the beam towards

I take a child's hand and,
We enter the jungle
Of whispering books and
Stand up to
Scary blank pages,
We look at the trees and
Climb them!
Higher and higher in stages of
Bravery and
At last, understand.

We taste the excitement
Of learning.

I watch as,
Without restraint, children paint
Entire worlds,
To live in.
Their enthusable faces
Give grey places colour,
Grey areas: detail,
Questioning everything without
Worry of
What people think.


To teach is To attempt to convey my mind
While all the time it
Unwinds in exhaustion.
I'll give you a piece.

I can no longer
Model the role,
An actress hiding the yawning
Holes which gape between soles
Skipping over the rope.
The gap we must somehow close

When a child goes hungry
And another wears patches for clothes:

They don't look the same
On empty stomachs.

I'm discovering government moulds
Won't fit
No matter the pressure applied,
I tried
To squeeze and squash,
Rearrange each child but now,
Derranged, I've failed.

The test is wrong!

Volume of a cube: length x width x depth.
But what
Is the volume of the claustrophobic child
Filed inside the box?

And how do you turn them down?

Let down? balloons dis-aired
By cramped desks and chairs when out there
The blue sky beckons,


No moulds for clouds.

Sonia Phillips (born 1989) England
For an explanation of how this poem came about, see the author's blog here.

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