Little Town 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.
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