HAPPENING 1961 | By: Terry Collett | | Category: Poem - Life Bookmark and Share


Greenfield said
where you from?

London you replied
I don’t like Londoners

he said as a bee
buzzed in the greenhouse

where the rural science teacher
Gable had sent you.

Greenfield pushed you
against the potting bench

and you pushed him
against begonia plants

which fell to the floor
and he punched

your arm
and you punched

his jaw
and he grabbed you

around the waist
and you both

fell to the floor.
You smelt his sweat

and saw blood
drip from his lips.

Get up you gits
another boy said

Old Gable’s coming
and so you pulled

Greenfield up
by the hand

and he brushed off
your school jacket

and you pushed
your fingers

through your hair
and he wiped blood

from his lips
and in came Gable

and said
what’s happening here?

And why are the begonias
on the floor?

My fault you said
I knocked them

with my elbow
and Greenfield

was going to
pick them up

when he banged his jaw
on the bench by accident.

Gable glared
at you both

and said
well bloody well

pick them up
and clean up the mess

and left.
Greenfield held

his handkerchief
to his lip.

You picked up
the begonias

one by one
and put them

on the bench.
Greenfield put them

tidy and neat
and kicked

the spilt earth
under the bench

with his feet.
Gable’s a toss

Greenfield said
and put out

his hand for
you to shake .

You shook his hand
and smiled

and he laughed
and said

I guess Londoners
aren’t all bad

and the bee buzzed
out the open window

and you watched it go
and was glad.

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