“There’s nothing more inspiring or – beautiful than
the sight of a mare and a new colt”
(Biff Loman, in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman)
And you, Biff Loman, right out there
on prairie, in open air, we all of us
see and share your moment’s grace. But we
who’ve taught in schools, a pasty-faced kind
of livelihood alongside your Texas ranch:
a tough guys’ register would rank us
pretty low. We are seen as indoor men.
And Biff, I notice too you hesitate,
you check before the simple beautiful.
Biff, in all those years I taught
in classrooms, nothing, nothing at all
(not learning outcomes, grades, initiatives)
was ever as inspiring or
as the simple sight, in a Silent Reading class,
of a child, a pupil, twelve maybe, thirteen,
quite, quite absorbed in a book.
Witches, midnight gardens, winds in trees.
The page would turn, rustling (the child
unaware), so very, very slowly.
Previously published in Roundyhouse
Robert Nisbet is a poet from Pembrokeshire who does not see himself as unduly competitive, but who has recently won the Prole Pamphlet Competition. His entry, Robeson, Fitzgerald and Other Heroes, appeared last year from Prolebooks.