Posted by: Tom Triumph | August 31, 2010

105. First Day at School: Roger McGough

This made the rounds of a few years back, and I was surprised I had not added it then.

For any student who thinks poetry is hard, or that they cannot do it, will enjoy this. Focus on the concept of the unreliable narrator and how McGough bridges the mind of a kindergartner and that of an older reader. Where does humor come from?


I like to play the video before we read it. Then we look at the words. Then we watch the video again and talk about if the visuals go with their personal visuals. Some journaling about their own experiences will go a long way.

Most important, have fun.

First Day at School
Roger McGough

A millionbillionwillion miles from home
Waiting for the bell to go. (To go where?)
Why are they all so big, other children?
So noisy? So much at home they
Must have been born in uniform
Lived all their lives in playgrounds
Spent the years inventing games
That don’t let me in. Games
That are rough, that swallow you up.

And the railings.
All around, the railings.
Are they to keep out wolves and monsters?
Things that carry off and eat children?
Things you don’t take sweets from?
Perhaps they’re to stop us getting out
Running away from the lessins. Lessin.
What does a lessin look like?
Sounds small and slimy.
They keep them in the glassrooms.
Whole rooms made out of glass. Imagine.

I wish I could remember my name
Mummy said it would come in useful.
Like wellies. When there’s puddles.
Yellowwellies. I wish she was here.
I think my name is sewn on somewhere
Perhaps the teacher will read it for me.
Tea-cher. The one who makes the tea.

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