Choose any animal, the teacher said,
maybe one you don’t like
and listen to his point of view.
Mary chose a rat, Fred a spider,
Jack a duck-billed platypus
but I thought of the rudest word I knew
and picked a dung beetle
not because I don’t like them
but so I could say poo.
Miss wasn’t amused and sent me
to stand outside the door
where there was nothing to do
so I pulled faces at the others
when her back was turned.
Jack laughed. She threw him out too.
We listed animals we didn’t like:
crocodiles, bulls, woodlice, sharks,
wasps, rhinos, the kangaroo.
I said ‘What about seagulls
when they snatch your chips?’
and Jack said ‘What about you?’
So I said he was an ape anyway
like the king of the swingers.
He belonged in a zoo.
But just then the head walked by,
looked in at the class writing poems,
said ‘What have you been up to?’
So Jack looked a litle bit sheepish
and I said ‘We’ve been acting daft.’
And he said ‘So what should you do?’
And I said ‘Say sorry to miss, Sir’
and Jack said ‘Not do it again’
and he said ‘Gentlemen, after you,’
and opened the door to the classroom
where Jack managed two lines about seagulls
and I did a dead good haiku.
Carole Bromley lives in York where she is the stanza rep and runs poetry surgeries. Winner of a number of first prizes including the Bridport. Two collections with Smith/Doorstop, the most recent being The Stonegate Devil, October 2015.