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unidentified boys’school Date: circa 1905 Source: postcard

True poets do not care that they are read,
the dead ones even less so for they see
the cold rigidity of young hearts bled
of spontaneity. Poor Miss McCree
with ruler tapping meter dares not share
her dreams, mad fuelled by Donne, of Principal
Trelawney. Moistures and excitements, where
are they to hide, cursed, shamed, inimical
to education’s thrust? Alas, a lass
who craves, a lad whose chemistry betrays
him, they’ll not quiver reading Leaves of Grass
but gnash on facts, bound tight like whalebone stays.
While students parse sweet Emily’s refrain,
her slanted lines dash wild against the pane.

© Elaine Stirling, 2020