Thursday, 19 August 2010

Midday Meal Postponed

I cobbled this together during a quiet moment in class (my students were doing a writing activity) in solidarity with those colleagues of mine who are presently snowed under with marking (as indeed I will probably be before a fortnight has elapsed). Reading over it again, I can hear definite echoes of Chesterton's Ballade of the Suicide in the refrain, but I think this ballade has its own thematic and poetic integrity as well. Feedback is welcome. Copyright is mine.

I still have not yet had my lunch today
And now the clock is ticking towards three,
Yet still here at my desk I have to stay,
Marking endless mediocrity;
These students who assume stupidity
In teachers, with low marks I will repay.
You say I seem a tad deprecatory?
It's just I've not yet had my lunch today.

While colleagues come and go, as is their way,
Arousing in me endless jealousy,
Flitting like the restless popinjay
Which sounds its cheerful chirp from tree to tree,
From page to page to page relentlessly
My pen swoops down on ungrammatic prey;
An end to shed red ink I fain would see
Since I have not yet had my lunch today.

Oh, what I wouldn't give for one big tray
Of meat and rice- and cheese!- perhaps some Brie
Accompanied by a cup of karkaday,
But I can't even spare time to make tea.
I hear my stomach protest noisily;
Does my complexion seem a little grey?
Another essay. Health is secondary,
Although I've not yet had my lunch today.

O Prince, why send your progeny to me
To educate them? I know what you pay.
But I would gladly teach them, and for free,
If only I might have my lunch today.


Stella Oriens said...

I love the content, but I must admit I struggled with the metre. Perhaps I am just an unlettered slob who is as yet unaccustomed to poetry.


GAB said...

Hello Stella.

It is a very specific form called a 'ballade' (different from a ballad, interestingly enough). You can find out more about them here:
I wouldn't feel too uncultured. I had never heard of it myself twelve months ago. One of those odd little forms that free verse has mostly run out of town. They're quite fun once you get the hang of them though. :)