Armistice Day Poem

Thinking of the story my mother told me of the wounded soldier who came to teach at her school in New Deer in Scotland. These soldiers were encouraged to return to the community. How difficult it must have been to be faced by these innocent young faces and in light of the injuries they now carried.

 

Mother Recalls a Soldier Teacher – 1919

 

I am not sure what subjects he taught.

His class, all of whom were rigid with fright.

A troubled dimension to the schoolroom it brought.

 

Not a child that first day, his eye contact sought.

Repatriated early, he now made a terrible sight.

I am not sure what subjects he taught.

 

He carried on; sympathy unsought;

He stood before them, disfigured, barely upright.

A troubled dimension to the schoolroom it brought.

 

The door to the schoolroom never athwart;

to every Scottish child in that room, a birth-right.

I am not sure what subjects he taught.

 

But into the classroom, lessons, none ought,

so young, to have seen such terrible plight.

A troubled dimension to the schoolroom it brought.

 

He stood before them, a revealing report,

of modern war and its aftermath in vivid light.

I am not sure what subjects he taught.

A troubled dimension to the classroom it brought.

 

Benita H. Kape © 12.1.2014

 

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