A Response to Katherine Birbalsingh

Dear Katharine,

I hate to sound like one of those preachers

But I’m a local English secondary teacher

Have been one for more than twenty years

And in every school I’ve taught, I’ve said my prayers

My zohr, asr and my dear maghrib

Whilst teaching the Destruction of Sennacherib!

And here’s a thing I hope you will not fear

Some students have prayed with me, laissez-faire!

The daily prayers have always lifted students

The ones I’ve seen have always been quite prudent

So, my advice to you before I depart

Is don’t break off your students from their hearts

The prayer for Muslims, like a flowing river

That we bathe in, it lets the soul just shiver

If you think that the kids are immature

Then surely there are staff you can implore

Or elders who can guide them while they pray

Who’ll help them to explore enriching ways

Your secular mission is oxymoronic

You seek to thrive with rules which are pharaonic

You can’t divorce a child from their deep roots

Exam results are not true learning’s fruits

So let these children be, and see their faiths

The real world is there beyond school gates…

A Poem For School Students Inspired By Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

My friend has made a monster

He did it for a joke

He wanted to frighten the girls

The teachers and his folks

.

He combined all these chemicals

Then added bones and rocks

The only thing remaining was

Lightning to stir and shock!

.

And now his monster lives and breathes

It’s growing in a box

He tells me that he’s feeding it

With flies and roasted ox!

.

“This monster will give everyone

A fright!” He likes to tell me,

“Especially all my friends and foes,

They’ll swoon and gasp, I tell thee.”

.

My friend has made a monster

I hear it now above

These limping, shifting, soft footsteps

Which bump around and shove.

.

And now after some weary weeks

Those footsteps seem much louder

My friend tells me: “It’s growing well!”

His smile could not be prouder

.

Some days have passed; my sleep perturbed

My friend no longer meets me

And all I hear from up above

Is a whimper: “Help me… Help me…”

.

Finally, I rush upstairs,

And knock at my friend’s door

A moaning voice cries: “Help me please….”

Then I hear no more…

.

My friend has made a monster

And now I know for sure

That what he made is a travesty

Against the natural law

.

And let this be a lesson friend

Of hubris, understand

Before you fashion such a fiend

Which grows then blights the lands…

.

As now the door has opened wide

Before me stands this thing…

My friend lies dead; a mangled mess

And red eyes stare and grin…