This is one of a series of poems, written by my Grandmother, that represent a portrait of her childhood in Thomas Hardy’s Wessex, places and people she loved who are, for the most part, no longer with us. She dedicates each and every poem to her daughters, and has kindly given me permission to share them with you all, enjoy…
The Infants’ Teacher
She wasn’t harsh, but when we left the infants
We all knew our alphabets and our tables
Up to the twelve times.
We loved her, never-changing, handing out the milk
In little bottles. Sometimes in the winter
She would warm it up.
Between the black, pot-bellied stove, and railings
Meant to keep us out. Sometimes there’d be Horlicks
With little bits in.
We never knew her really as a person.
I don’t know if she liked to read, what music
Touched a lonely chord.
She lived in limbo, handing out the pencils,
Saying Grace at three o’clock, then standing all alone
When we had all gone home.
© Dorothy Davis-Sellick 1998 onwards