poetry

A teacher’s sonnet

DSC_0178Let me not to the marking of scripts

Let me not to the marking of many scripts
admit ineptitude. Sanity is not sanity
which fails when it flaws finds
or bends with the writers who are deluded.
Oh no! It is an ever flowing cup
of coffee trudged through calloused catacombs to invigilate
in the long grey hours that are cold, lonely, never up.
Oh these hours on hours on days. These days I hate.
Sanity’s not for sissies, fool! It’s a fragile brew
within the double coiled loops of this lamentable distillery
where load shedded neurons along the grey folds are few
still hoping through hell for relief from this pillory.
And if it be shown that this is sanity
I’ll trade my next paycheck for a frontal lobotomy.

M scallan

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Uncategorized

A meditation on the sea

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For the sea is a vast, churning thing that crushes sea shells into sand. My parents ashes have been flung into its relentless froth. Mine may also find their way to its brutal edge.

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Always, the sea has coughed back the cares I bring to the beach with my towel,  sandwiches and dogs. Its heaving, shuddering mass does not care for the little trials of man. It has seen them all again and again and again. The sea is an unsympathetic bastard. That’s why I keep coming back to it. I understand.

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The sea licks clean the wounds of living. That is also why I return. Scudding, soothing, consistently chaffing rough stuff smooth

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old fart

The evolution of a grumpy old fart

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I once had a solar powered plastic yellow daisy with a smiley face that would sway left and right when it was in full sun. Much like a suburban alcaholic walking home from the bottle shop in summer. The object sat on the dashboard of my car. Not for long. One afternoon after a particularly difficult day at school I caught the bobbing gaze of the contrived, smug flower and it did not induce warm ripples of love. I promptly threw the palm sized manifestation of joy out of the window. There were no cars behind me, I checked, so no one was hurt. It landed near the week old carcass of a kangaroo. Poetic justice. I, on the other hand was perplexed. What had possessed me to do this? More importantly, what had possessed me to buy it? Had I experienced what sloppy murderers call ‘temporary insanity’?

I recall a morning when a television salesman and his stupid smile tried to sell me a purple and blue vacuum cleaner that promised to last a lifetime. I was furious at the blatant lie. A pattern was emerging. Irrational anger would rise to the surface of my consciousness at lightning speed. Advertisements for cleaning products, toothpaste, banks that cared and once in a lifetime sales sent me over the edge of relative normality. A year later I was driving with my good friend Lilian who had on her dashboard, a smiley solar powered daisy. I had an epiphany. I smiled back this time and understood what had happened that day the daisy died . I had not reacted badly to the notion of happiness as a consumer commodity. I was not experiencing a moment of existential rage. It was far simpler and more benign than that. I was evolving into that dark spectre of suburban homes everywhere: the grumpy old fart.

I am coming to terms with my new condition. I suspect I am still in denial. I insist to my daughters and son that I am only being realistic and just weary of commercial crap. They respond the way I reacted to my father, they roll their eyes. Wait, their turn is coming. There will always be a market for stupid plastic smiling flowers. Nonsense, like humanity’s ills is cyclical.
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Photographs of objects created by Sean Scallan

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