Little Town Poetry: The School is the town is the school, made in Chess pieces.

 In Poetry

The School is the town is the school, made in Chess pieces.

 

The school is the town is the school 

made in Chess-pieces: Knights, 

Kings, Bishops prop-up railings, 

columns, arches/ sleep in assemblies.

 

Pawns scatter the Market-Place on Friday,

keep beds fresh, places open – 

three al-fresco cafes, scones multiply

like seeds in the fallow meadow 

 

between Little Town and the village.

Humming-Birds, Kestrels survey

tracks, hoof/foot prints, pylons 

with suspicion. They do not like 

 

cryptic messages. We do not want 

confusion in Little Town, where 

two pubs are red and loud, 

the rest – gentle infirmaries 

 

like the Renaissance Convent snuck

to the Roman Wall, snaking up 

Leicester Road. History is polite. 

It rarely coughs in church but

 

hosts all societies: Scouts, theatricals,

WI, Guilds of fat tradesman, local histories. 

Meanwhile, the Big School mows private lawns,

teaches: how to work a chequered Board.

 

Boys dressed black and white push 

books uphill to Chapel, burn books

by mystic camp-fires, whack 

balls across perfect, green fields

 

at the top of the Cinder Track, where maids

chucked ashes from school-kitchens –

boys white as ghosts wear cream jumpers

where the private helicopters land.

 

Me at six, cradled by a Senior Prefect

at the Big School’s Open Day – 

gothic towers, his handsome face, 

kindness, rise and fall like Rooks.

 

Me at thirty-six, high up the School Arboretum 

holding court with Ash, Silver-Birch, my phone 

surveying The Town that is the School

made of Chess pieces 

 

rearranging them.

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