Poem – Is it such a problem?

Hey everyone,

I haven’t felt up to a poem in a while, but here’s one anyway.

Tonight I have been smashing out some 200-word vignettes for the “2019 NWF/joanne burns Microlit Award”. I have finished 2 pieces and am stuck on the third. I won’t find out if they win (they won’t), until December, but I will post them as soon as they’re clear of the winner announcement.

While sitting at my computer, stuck on the third I suddently felt like writing a Villanelle – and I love a good Villanelle.

As you can probably tell if you read the poem, I am pretty sick of being derided by most of Australian society as a teacher, and especially as an English teacher. It seems like the people who don’t like teachers really, especially didn’t like English.

Anyway – here’s a poem I just wrote. I like it, but the ending is clunky. However, by the time I realised that was going to happen I had already written all but the final stanza, so I did my best to make it work.

If you want to hear it in the form it’s intended then read it out loud, follow the punctuation carefully and all but ignore the line- and stanza-breaks, and put on your best “snarky English teacher” voice. I know you all had one at one time or another – English teachers can be mean.




Is it such a problem?

“Another English teacher writing poetry?
How quaint,” they look towards me and sneer.
“Is it such a problem to feel free?”

I ask, knowing what their answer will be.
But what do they have to fear?
Another English teacher writing poetry

is a common thing for them to see.
So I ask again, wanting to be clear,
“Is it such a problem to feel free?

Is it so bad that I don’t agree?
That while the blows land year on year
another English teacher writing poetry

might help your child know who to be?
Might help them be their own all seer.
Is it such a problem to feel free?

It was obvious – to them my words are paltry.
But from whom comes the question that they fear?
Another English teacher writing poetry:
“Is it such a problem to feel free?”

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