A New Poem: ‘Reasons for Life’


Reasons for Life

after Mark Halliday



Because of the desks.  And the luck.

And because there are too many eighteen year olds

running round with guns because Miss Eve said

‘Not now, Darren, let’s get back to the Pharaohs.’

Because: ‘Not one day went by

when reading was easy.’


And because Miss Brown ignored

the sunlight, filled with dust motes,

and had you sketching shells

from her Greek holiday instead.

And in spite of Miss Janners in Geography and everyone in Physics,

there was Mr Lee in Chemistry and Mrs Crump in Spelling.  Especially

Mrs Crump. 


Because once, the classroom emptying,

the blackboard groaning with homework,

someone approached your crouching form

and said how pleased they were

you had attended their lesson

and had you considered reading Lawrence.


Because if they don’t get it from you,

who will they get it from?

Because of the desks of forgetting,

the sunlight filled with dust

of wanting to be outside

and the luck of finding someone who found you interesting

enough to believe in.


Because your dad was, or mum was

and the sight of a kitchen table piled high with blue books

appeals to you in the way computers and cars

sing to those you grew up with,

who now live in suburbs you avoid

because they are full of roundabouts.


Because you burn with it,



which brings you here

to this room, just one more filled with desks and sunlight and dust motes,

and because time means nothing to Isha, and Ashraf

is making plans to look nobody in the eye.



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