Mouthy by Mike Jenkins

Sborin, sir!

We’re always doin racism.

It’s that or death, sir.

Yew’re morbid, yew are,

or gotta thing about the blacks.

 

But sir mun! Carn we do summin interestin

like Aids or watch a video o’ Neighbours?

Mrs Williams Media upstairs ave got em.

 

Oh no! Not another poem!

They’re always crap, rubbish

not enough action, don’ rhyme.

 

Yer, sir, this one’s got language in it!

It’s all about sex!

Yew’re bloody kinky yew are!

I’m gettin my Mam up yer.

 

Sir! We aven done work frages,

on’y chopsin in groups.

We ewsed t’do real English

when we woz younger,

exercises an fillin in gaps.

 

Sir mun! Don’ keep askin me

wha we should do,

yew’re the bloody teacher!

 

by Mike Jenkins

from Graffiti Narratives


Fun fact: The accent and inflections here are indicative of the Merthyr style of Welsh-English or ‘Wenglish’ dialect. Jenkins taught English at Radyr Comprehensive School in Cardiff for nearly a decade and Penydre High School, Gurnos, Merthyr Tydfil, for approximately two decades prior to that. At the end of the 2008–9 academic year Jenkins took voluntary redundancy. He now writes full-time capitalising on experiences gleaned from former pupils. An extract from one of Mike Jenkins’s poems has been used as part of the public realm regeneration of Merthyr Tydfil town centre.

Please Mrs Butler by Allan Ahlberg

Please Mrs Butler

This boy Derek Drew

Keeps copying my work, Miss.

What shall I do?

 

Go and sit in the hall, dear.

Go and sit in the sink.

Take your books on the roof, my lamb.

Do whatever you think.

 

Please Mrs Butler

This boy Derek Drew

Keeps taking my rubber, Miss.

What shall I do?

 

Keep it in your hand, dear.

Hide it up your vest.

Swallow it if you like, love.

Do what you think best.

 

Please Mrs Butler

This boy Derek Drew

Keeps calling me rude names, Miss.

What shall I do?

 

Lock yourself in the cupboard, dear.

Run away to sea.

Do whatever you can, my flower.

But don’t ask me!

 

by Allan Ahlberg

Miss Twiss by Iain Crichton Smith

One day Miss Twiss

the primary teacher

turned into a fish

and began to lecture

 

to her children dear

holding the chalk

in her fish’s tail.

As she couldn’t walk

 

She stoof up straight

as a snake might do

and her scales were white

and sometimes blue.

 

‘I’ll tell you a tail,’

she told the boys

and seemed surprised

when they made a noise.

 

‘I’ll teach you the scales.’

she told the girls

and seemed surprised

at their subsequent twirls.

 

‘I’ll teach you to skate,’

she said with a grin

and seemed surprised

at the noise and the din.

 

When the cat came in

she slid away

and has never been heard of

till this day.

 

by Iain Crichton Smith

On Current Corporal Punishment by David R. Morgan

There was a young teacher from Staines

Who simply hated the use of Canes;

He had other controls

For deviant souls,

Such as plugging them into the Mains.

by David R. Morgan