~ Les Murray, 1987
Childhood sleeps in a verandah room
in an iron bed close to the wall
where the winter over the railing
swelled the blind on its timber boom
and splinters picked lint off warm linen
and the stars were out over the hill;
then one wall of the room was forest
and all things in there were to come.
Breathings climbed up on the verandah
when dark cattle rubbed at the corner
and sometimes dim towering rain stood
for forest, and the dry cave hunched woollen.
Inside the forest was lamplit
along tracks to a starry creek bed
and beyond lay the never-fenced country,
its full billabongs all surrounded
by animals and birds, in loud crustings,
and sometimes kept leaping up amongst them.
And out there, to kindle whenever
dark found it, hung the daylight moon.
Same old days with dozey starts. Getting into the swing of things but consistently rising and retiring too late. Must do better! Parent-teacher night revealed that the teacher, who caused so much inner angst in the first week, is in fact a warm and bright soul (probably the pick of the bunch). Just goes to show that shouldn't necessarily jump to hasty conclusions based on a child's initial assessment of the situation. Must trust your instincts of course, and I sensed this was a matter of schoolyard comparisons rather than anything more troubling. We can't have 'Mr Chips'- style teachers every year sadly.
As much as I have high regard for teachers, in terms of their administration, I did think, as I sat in the classrooms listening intently to their explanations of the term ahead, that some could do with a stint in the bureaucracy to learn how to organise their presentations and timetables. Some were persuasive and authoritative, others seemed to have no idea what sort of reassuring information we needed. They clearly work with children and not government ministers. I guess if you are a public school you have neither the wherewithal nor the inclination to look too polished or cultivate a customer service mentality. It's very odd.
Photos: Canberra street scenes by me.