Poem by Phil Lynch (Ireland)
Published in The Ofi Press issue 47
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.
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.