on school

economics class
private education ends
fees don't cover costs


n.b. St John’s RC College, Southsea, “Permanently closed“. So much for educating the boys of the Portsmouth diocese.

Buildings established to ensure one group of children got a decent education in a densely populated port, now vacant, after it went private and educated fee-payers’ children from around the world.

Meanwhile, the need for school buildings and sports facilities in the city remains high, but these falling into disrepair.

CLP 18/11/2022

on Iran

Birmingham's children
could not be silenced by hate
nor Iran's school girls


n.b. School girls being beaten to death by Iranian security forces for refusing to be told what to wear and what to sing.

The Birmingham ‘Children’s Crusade’, equally spontaneous, filled Alabama’s police cells. The children knew that their protests, against violent racism, would clog up the legal system, without affecting the economics of their family homes, as a working parent being incarcerated would have done.

In Iran, the vicious treatment of women, is the response of men who have been told “No.”

CLP 18/10/2022

on Ukraine

no children were harmed
in destruction of their school
had they learnt enough?


n.b. Was anyone paying attention to the children of Chechnya, or Syria when they raised their hands?

CLP 23/07/2022

on Ukraine xxvi

there is only so long left
of this public examination
all is organised to this end
our youth bent double
drowning in academic gas
interpreting Dulce et Decorum est
while the RAF shake the building
practising manoeuvres,
virtue signalling overhead


CLP 08/06/2022


in England
exam halls full
biros scribbling
humidity and heat
someone decreed the tie must be worn

they will hear nothing of the lark
catch not the cuckoo calling
cannot simmer in the slow burn to Solstice
the ticking clock
ninety minutes of mathematics

a pair of blackbirds flush out the jay
heron stalking by the weir
deep dwellers snapping at surface midges
reeds revelling with rainbow trout
two hundred children sat in rows

stretched out under the sun
barley feathering the fields
the school year runs
in laps that tighten the adult grip
on childhood


CLP 07/06/2022

on education

children of Texas
learn drills to escape shooters
law-makers profit
Mauripol children
learn Russian curriculum
teaching at gunpoint


n.b. In the USA the elephant in the classroom carries a gun because of a constitutional change way back in 1791. Surely it is time for a review of that blood-stained document?


In Ukraine the elephants are cancelling school holidays and forcing children to learn a new history, this time from a Russian perspective. This is according to Petro Andryushchenko, a city official of Mauripol, The Guardian news publisher in London reports.

CLP 27/05/2022

on gaslighting

I wrote to you
with my concerns and fears
for our collective future
(the children's too)
waited for your reply
I waited for you
to phone or call by
for a discussion
on how we might work it
I got your response
woven through my lines
you'd done everything
you could
I was grateful to be told
everything possible
was possible and was good
if everyone else does everything
that in your opinion they should


n.b. Are we employing the wrong people to run things? Why is it us not following their instructions, not them not listening?

Loving being back at work tbh; it’s a gas.

CLP 30/03/2022

On Pain

What hurts us the most:

wounds inflicted by others;

seeing one’s own faults?


CLP 22/04/2021

Fingers and Thumbs

Three of us it took, and over an hour, to agree

That all the cows were where they ought be

How many could we see and count

Fifty six should have been the right amount

Browns and blacks and Devon Reds shifted

As we counted, those huge beasts drifted

Heavy silhouettes turned to solid shapes

They moved and merged, seemed to evaporate

What was one, then sprung two more cud dribbling heads

Then a brown one suddenly grew six legs

And stretched out long until it was two

And so we had to start the count anew

Up on the hillside we saw them clearly

And at last confirmed the tally

Each of us found fifty six

But wished we had known the farmer’s tricks


n.b. To count the herd when there is no one about to help, organise the cattle to pass through a gate into the fresh pasture one at a time, counting them as they go


Christopher Perry

21st April, 2020