Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

poem- lessons October 25, 2013

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:21 am
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When my dad went to school

he knew the Brother would beat him.

The ruler would rap down across

his small knuckles

once for every spelling mistake.

He knew he’d always make a mistake.

He knew he’d be beaten.

It didn’t make him study,

it just made him drag his feet

on the way to school,

meant education was painful

meant inadequacy

and brutality

were part of every day.

It didn’t make him speed up

that he’d be whipped

for tardiness


During lessons,

he watched boys fly

across the room

propelled by the fury

of the Christian Brothers

who didn’t understand

much about children,



or the golden rule.

Dad kept his head down,

nursed sore

knuckles and learned

how not to treat children.



Happy Birthday to my dad, who celebrates his 99th birthday today!

One more year until the official greeting from the Queen!

PS. Dad attended parochial school in Montreal in the 1920s.


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