Antrim Schoolroom 1882

Rory Brennan
A child raises her hand to answer
Where is Perth? The teacher stands
To peer through vaulted windows
At fields where the seasons change
More pointedly than the curriculum.
He lifts his stick from habit and patrol!l Mutinous aisles, letting a murmur rise Like spits of rain on leaves. McCusker! You! The boy picks out Saskatchewan. You dunderheaded fool! He does not strike. All, all McCuskers are a waste of time. Yet pay depends on them.
The clock has slunk a minute. Will he Stay here until his forehead's grained
Like schoolbench wood? He thinks of Perth And sighs you, Peggy Doyle.
A twiglike finger points,
Australia a snagged turnip on the globe.
Page 39, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 26