Author Archives: Brian Conlon

Different Class

I started school when I was four
A uniformed wee man
By age eighteen I’m out the door
An exam and a dim life plan.

In between were books and lessons
Bullies, friends and rules
Teachers, sports, detention
The parts that make up schools.

Miss Taylor was my favourite
She looked a hundred and three
She was prob’ly in her fifties
Ancient then to me.

A kind and patient lady
Grey hair tied in a bun
Strict concerning lessons
With a smile suggesting fun.

McGee was the maths teacher
We didn’t get along
Not personally, you understand
Just all my sums were wrong.

I don’t recall the others
With any great emotion
Perhaps somehow I picked up
On their lack of real devotion.

Mullins, Carthy, Whelan
And Collins all in trouble
“Sketch” here comes old Duffy
To your desks lads, on the double.

Bag hanging off your shoulder
The homework laid out square
The weight of an Aran boulder
“Aw come on Sir, not fair”.

We’ll do it in the morning
In the yard or before the bell
First up is Mister Clancy
The Irish class from hell.

“Can any of you tell me
The Irish word for horse?
The answers in your notebooks
Now boys it’s on the course”.

A half-day off on Wednesday
For soccer or rugbai
Unless you had a sick note
Then you won the lottery.

Weekends and summer holidays
Christmas and Easter time
Register less intently
Than the nine o’clock bell chime.

Perhaps that’s why I hear it
As I walk in through the gate
As St. Martin’s Boys maths teacher
I prefer not to be late.

Brian Conlon

Brian is “a Dubliner living abroad”. Born and raised in Glasnevin. His first love is writing “but we all know how that doesn’t pay the bills!”. His work can be read here.

Pic via Young Ireland by Jack Manning