Sunday, 16 April 2017

Back to School OR Rediscovering Letters on Building Bricks, Learning Tools for Grown-Ups

While I will always refute the notion that schooldays see us through the best years of our lives, I will always be grateful for a less than happy learning experience that has brought me to where I am now; one which, for better or worse, has more yet in store for me. For just how much longer, only time will tell; no life experience teaches us all the answers although there never was any harm in speculating and trusting that a few, at least, will filter through.

I was like a fish out of water at school for all kinds of reasons, not least because no one picked up on my partial deafness so I missed much of what was being said. Moreover, I am not a very practical person and hopeless at subjects like woodwork, metalwork and technical drawing, which, it being a Technical School, were primary subjects. I learned a lot, though, if only by way of survival skills that would see me through the rest of my life.

Although a ‘low to medium’ achiever’ at school, I had some great teachers and learned a lot; e.g. how to compensate for my deafness by developing a wacky sense of humour that would get me out of all kinds of scrapes; feeding my imagination on classic children’s poetry and literature that would soon find me devouring adult works that, in turn, would serve me well as a mature student at university;  enjoying my ups by coming through my downs with a real sense of having learned something although (of course) I hadn’t thought of it as a learning process at the time; discovering at first hand that self-pity is a waste of any potential for mind, body and spirit left waiting in the wings, demonstrating (only too well) the futility of going nowhere fast.

Oh, and last but not least, those less-than-happy-but-worth-every-minute schooldays taught me to live with myself, warts ‘n’ all. (Rarely a flattering image, but, what the heck…? Sure, escapism by whatever means is all very well, so long as we can get real - with ourselves if not always with each other - whenever needs must.)

Yes, 71 now and still discovering what letters make what words on what building bricks used to make a world...


Old building,
groaning for developers
knocking it down

Empty rooms,
full of jeering ghosts
putting me down

haunting my every step,
bringing me down

Old school tie,
noose around my neck,
dropping me down

Formative years,
lessons but half learned
letting me down

T-I-M-E, choices
breaking us in, schoolkids
on a joyride

L-I-F-E, a half-ruin
waiting upon developers
to reconstruct us

kinder ghosts, ready to lend
a helping hand

better teachers, overriding
lesser mortals

but graffiti on a blackboard
till we can spell

Copyright R. N. Taber 2017

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