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Steve’s stories Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Posted by carryapoem in Stories.
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As an English teacher I carry a hundred poems with me. On most days there is a piece of poetry in my head – not in an “Auntie Wordsworth” type of way as John Osborne once put it but in a much more demanding and dynamic way. They are there whether we want them to be or not!  English teachers tend to have their favourites poems that they cosset, dress up and pull out of a drawer to show and I’m no different.

Jack Pretsky’s “The Ghoul” made a group of thirteen year olds actually recoil with horror. (The boys asked me to read it again!) Numerous John Hegley poems have made them laugh and I remember a stunned silence when I read Edwin Morgan’s “Stobhill” to a group of seniors. All these poems and others and the impact of their reading on others is something I carry with me.

On a more prosaic level  there is a line from a poem, by a little known poet called Isaac Ewan, that has been with me since I was a teenager, “Be kind in this cruel world, be kind.” As twee as that might sound I have found that as I’ve got older kindness is a very powerful thing. The fact that he was a stretcher bearer in World War One gives that line a certain poignant resonance for me.

Steve teaches English Literature at Holyrood High School