Primary school was not a happy place for me. I am dyslexic, but hadn’t been diagnosed at that point, and found a fairly traditional education involving spellings, handwriting, and learning tables by heart almost impossible. I spent much of the time looking out of the window, and imagining.
While I couldn’t copy of the board, I did go home and write – often long epic misspelled poems – and occasionally, when we could write freely at school, I was brave enough to just do that, write freely.
My teacher, unknown to me, entered this poem in the high school Christmas Poetry competition, and it was commended. That was such an important moment for me. It was the first time I felt a sense of possibility at school – that I could do something, and maybe do it well. I am so grateful to that teacher for believing in me. I showed her some of my scribbly notebooks after that. Words and actions that encourage, that show you believe in someone, can seem such a small thing to the one doing them, but they can change the world of those who receive them.
When I was compiling Prayers and Verses I decided to include this Primary School poem, as it meant such a lot to me at the time. I hope you enjoy it too.
The dawn is breaking, the snow is making
everything shimmer and glimmer and white.
The trees are towering, the mist is devouring
all that is in the reaches of sight.
A bell is ringing, the town is beginning
slowly, gradually, to come to life.
A candle is lighted, and all are excited,
for today is the ending of all man’s strife.
Let us encourage one another this Christmas, look for the good even in unlikely places.