She leaned against the wall that day her head towards the ground
A slim and tender figure, worth nothing, I’ll be bound
Her eyes now hollow, empty, dead, not like I saw before
For then her eyes were sparkling from adventures, not from a score.
What happened child? I mused again, where had that pupil gone
Who answered quickly, smartly, before questioning had begun?
She had a world of interest in every class she took
And though her family was so poor she eagerly took each book.
She knew there were such treasures in every page she read.
Each book returned, well fingered, just like my Daily Bread
I thought she’d be a teacher or travel round the world
And day by day she blossomed as she ‘ate’ the written word.
But one day school was over and time to look for work
To spend more time with her peer group, no time for the written word
No work; no income; walk the streets; a pill; a needle then
It takes your mind off circumstance…then wait for more. And then?
She looked up, then, and once again I was the teacher now
Emotion caused my voice to rasp, while again her head went down.
“I own a little book shop with books you liked to read
Would you care to take a walk with me while I bring you up to speed?”
“If you wanted, you could help me. There are lots of books to read
When you’ve set the new books on the shelves you could teach some kids to read.”
Remember all the treasures you found inside each page?
It’s time you shared the things you found even at that early age.
Could you forget those needles? Will you discard those pills?
I’d be happy to prepare your meals and help you if you’re ill.
I could not pay you very much but we’d share and share alike
Surrounded by our treasures in a happy hopeful life.
W.B July 2013.