Posted in Greatest Hits

Then and Now

even when achievement is long and distinguished
a single entity stands alone
a book
a film
a performance
a pinnacle not previously summitted, And never again.

The second year in the school was mine
the first year had gone well
and the following five all pretty good too.
But the second was a perfect year
everything unfolding smoothly, symmetrically – no kink or rush
even football
we almost won the championship.

Our form master was exactly what God had in mind
when designing a homeroom teacher for 12-year-old boys.
Fair, firm, compassionate, fun-loving, tolerant
and wise
knowing the almost adolescents were still children
and the world would bear down …. soon enough.

Its official name was The General Excellence Award
one per class
we called it the poofter prize
openly disparaging it
but secretly desirous.

Two days before prize giving
our form master takes me aside
The General Excellence Award
came down to me and John
but John is leaving the school
going to a bigger school – where he won’t be known.
I was staying here
I’d get the prize – “ it was just a matter of time.”

I never did.
No conspiracy
the next five years were all good
that year – the second – was my perihelion.

I took it to mean I should have won
a 12 year old felt betrayed
he’d broken the rules
dishonesty – by his own impeccable standards.
A fifty something is pleased he did
it was a Catholic school and a very Christian thing to do.

To learn more click Backstage



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.

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