I saw him leave a pretty girl
and walk over the road
for round two
carrying the gravity of a grown man
but still with a youth’s speed
and adding a corporal’s strips.
I said to my girls, Just walk on. Go!
Which they did, for the first time ever,
without question or complaint;
their female antennae sensed
the danger in my voice
as I saw in my mind’s eye
him back 10 years and inside a circle
of part shocked, but mainly thrilled, pupils
punching the shit (and dentures)
out of Mr Porter.
And curing him forever, I’m fairly certain,
of his famous facetiousness.
I tried not to look hostile or too afraid.
He noted my girls who had stopped
at safe distance and were watching.
Clearly understanding the intention
and my expectation of, at 51 years old,
Excuse me, Sir, you won’t remember me, but…
I remember you, Williams.
I just came over to tell you, Sir,
you were right and I want to apologise
for my behaviour back then.
Seemingly, the Army finally did what I tried to do.
Well, I’m glad to hear that you
are keeping out of trouble?
Well, sort of, Sir. I’m putting it to
best use in the boxing ring.
I’m Northern Area Army Champion.
And so, we chatted for a while
his girlfriend was brought over
who turned out to be his fiancée.
Congratulations were given and
had I not been with the girls
I would have suggested a celebratory drink.
Never was one warranted more.
Removed from his angrier younger self
he had become a personable young man
and hardly carrying menace, excepting
a physique which suggested
the ability to prevail.
30 years of teaching and every day
a fresh lesson, and this the best.
A kid just not kitted out for school
who finally found his feet when
he found a better use for his fists.
Bad boy made good, my own tiny role
a justification for tonight’s whisky.
This poem is a true story. And it is a story that is nearly always true about a pupil, no matter who they are; time fixes things.
This is from my Queens of the Reich which is linked above.