Boarding School Bullies Failed…

In November 2016 I revisited Newtown, my old boarding school. I brought along my friend / photographer, Dora, to capture the spirit of that fondly-recalled, foundational place. Like others, I was bullied a bit but the senior sadists didn’t break my spirit….I was much helped at the time by the happy, hopeful top-ten gospel song, ‘O Happy Day’.

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photo: Dora Kazmierak

pensive portrait copy

Remembered: the drop-kick ball slap,

cheek-sting, my spectacles misshaped

  • feared that full force whack.

Other juniors distracted, I escaped

repeat impact then; often terror trapped

in the junior common room: one exit only:

senior hyena-laughter, first-form boy lonely.

 

Scared by the sound of ball-ricochet bang.

On the valve radio a black mass choir:

how hopeful those one-time slaves sang,

Hawkins almost set this soul on fire:

‘O happy day’ the gospel anthem rang.

Bullies failed to beat up this boy’s heart:

boarding school safe shelter, emotional ark.

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