It was Mrs Howard who Love taught me

In the temporary classroom

Sat on the rugby field

Her love of Love and its expression

From the page in gently found words

Spoken In bright metaphors

And subtle allusions


She spoke to me of hidden themes

And how a phrase could mean so much

How a rhyme can unlock the heart

Or harden up that vital muscle

To misunderstanding

And ill-focused yearning


She hooked me in

Close by the Itchen River’s bank

A young rainbow trout lifted up

From its soggy bed

On a fly fisher’s sharp whip

I was spotted, baited

Hungry to be caught and taught

To engage with finer forms

Than all those scawny spratts

With whom I’d been engaged before

Directed to gods, war, injustice

We were un-schooled

In more urgent places

Behind softly closed doors

Beneath blankets of meaning

Where bodies of learning could be openly studied

At length; in depth


It was not a coy mistress

Who opened Love to me

Her joy of Love

Without ambiguity

Writ large in her notes

Like billets doux that pointed me

Towards insights and Passion’s feelings

Mrs Howard my teacher

So pure and simple.


n.b. Paul Gordon and I formed “The Mrs Howard Appreciation Society” of which we two were, (dare I write it), the only members. She was a great teacher and we never thought of her lustfully. She was just a lovely person with a gift for sharing her love of poetry. Thank you, Mrs Howard, where ever you are.


n.n.b. NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 28 prompt: Write a poem about writing poems 🙄. Like writing songs about writing songs, this is navel gazing of sorts, which in the right company is a pleasant enough pastime I suppose.


CLP 28/04/2019


  1. A beautiful dedication. 🙂

    1. Michael Spain says:

      To all the Mrs Howards toiling away in classrooms the world over, inspiring our young people, on this May Day, we salute you. Do I qualify for associate membership…?!

  2. How deliciously delightful a poem. Thank you for writing. And thank you to Mrs Howard

    1. Quite a crowd, aren’t we

  3. Such a lovely tribute to a wonderful teacher.

    1. That is awesome.

  4. Your poem makes me realise I lacked such a person. Poetry in high school was: weird texts that didn’t say what they meant. Your poem makes me realise how different it could have been.

    1. In that case, I want to:) Because your poem makes is so clear what I’ve missed that I certainly appreciate her a lot! I wish she’d been my teacher.

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