Terry Collett


Not Hurtful And Mean


And that was it
not a thing to be done
or said Ingrid thought

walking home from school
her satchel over
her shoulder

the battered satchel
her father picked up
from some shop

but if that wasn’t
bad enough
the pink wire

framed spectacles
which made her eyes
large as saucers

were a target
for the boys at school
who called her four eyes

but it wasn’t her fault
she needed glasses
and her parents

couldn’t afford others
then there was
the dresses she wore

and the holey socks
and jumpers
and her hair was lank

and kept in place
with metal slides
even the other girls

in class avoided
sitting next to her
she crossed over

the road looking
both ways
as her mother told her

she hated school
disliked the lessons
she didn’t understand

and only the boy Benedict
was friendly to her
only he talked

in the playground
and didn’t
call her four eyes

and that time
he walked home
with her and said

she was pretty
no one had ever
called her pretty before

but he seemed
to mean it
and he showed her

his favourite bombsite
and shared
his bag of toffees

and bought her
a penny drink
from the shop

in Harper Road
and it was such
a hot day

and she was so thirsty
and she said
I haven’t any money

not even a penny
and he said
it’s on me

and that other time
they sat on the grass
by Banks House

and he told her
about Ivanhoe
and the metal sword

his father made him
and the cloak he wore
like Ivanhoe

which was really
one of his mother’s scarves
she wished he was there

beside her now
but he was away
in some convalescent home

by the seaside
after an operation
she stood on the kerb

waiting for the lights
to change from red to green
if only other boys

were like him
kind and friendly
not hurtful and mean.

Submitted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Edited: Thursday, July 18, 2013

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