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.