The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Literature from Mexico City

Phil Lynch: 1 Poem Published

Poem by Phil Lynch (Ireland)

Published in The Ofi Press issue 47




History Lesson


He strode about the room dictating notes

small in stature, big in voice, full of quotes

he rattled off accounts of family feuds

and wars that lasted a hundred years or more

his students struggled to keep up with his frantic pace

inventing shorthand to record in hardback copybooks

the dates and places of the battles won and lost.


The wars of old were what they were, history.

The real war was here and now in this theatre

of chalk dust and blackboards, the menace of the man

pitted against the wits of frightened kids. No contest.

He had all the armoury at his disposal

firing off questions like crack snatch squads

between desks to capture hapless prisoners

for interrogation, cross-examination and torture.

The condemned, forced to choose their own punishments

from a menu of techniques

practiced and perfected over decades,

had no escape and no one to tell

about this hidden hell.


But it was a lesson well learned

and one that taught much more than he intended.

About the Poet

Phil Lynch lives in Dublin, Ireland. Recent publications featuring his work include: Revival Literary Journal, Bare Hands Anthology, The Poetry Bus, Wordlegs, Boyne Berries, Silver Apples Magazine, Census 3 and Headstuff. He has been a runner-up in a number of poetry competitions, shortlisted in others and has also been featured on national and local radio in Ireland. He is a regular performer at poetry and spoken word events and festivals. Phil is a co-founder/Director of the LINGO Spoken Word Festival (Ireland’s first and only such festival). His first collection is forthcoming in 2016.

Image: "Untitled" by Nico Paix.