TO A TEACHER BURNING OUT (Slihos to A E Houseman)
The year your grades rose ten per cent
They faxed you from the government
Mom and Dad, in hearty YAY
Stood cheering, at the PTA.
But this June saw a different race,
200 pupils, 'on the face'
Their parents, brothers, uncles, all
Come ‘plaining to the principal.
Today, the pipe down we all drain,
Your shoulders, back, in constant strain
You frown each slip your pupil makes,
And, tense, you snap at tense mistakes.
Arms, that straps of white resist
Can't bang the table with the fist
And silence sounds no worse than jeers
Once 'gimmel tenth' has deadened ears.
Now you will not swell the rout
Of those who draw their pension out
Teachers who spite the yawning tombs;
Still cut and paste in English Rooms.
Smart lads, who slip intimes away
To fields where higher tech holds sway;
How ungermaine the teaching outcome
Viewed next to wages at the dot.com.
So, press, while wits you yet possess
The Key Escape to quit this mess
Inspecting you may wish to try;
To larger 'friars' leave smaller fry.
Else round your prematurely gray'd
Outmoded, spent, and NBA-ed
Your flock will flock to eulogize,
In English -- that the dead could rise!
Barry Silverberg, 1988, Version xp: 2003
Those of you who want to see more mutilated versions of houseman's poem,
have a look