Wednesday, 27 August 2014


“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” - AlbertEinstein

This week PoetryJam has as a theme “Back to School”:

“Think about what the first day of school evokes for you. Do you have sweet or bitter memories? Does one particular year stand out? Why? Are your children or grandchildren going back soon? What is or was it like to accompany them on their very first day?”

Here is my contribution.

First School Day

The first few drops of rain
On sun-baked soil have a special smell –
Turmeric mixed with soft green moss,
And a freshness, a vitality, an electricity,
The discharge of a spark of static.

The first school day
In a newly-cleaned classroom has a special smell:
Freshly-sharpened pencil (cedar), sharp ink,
And the subtler aroma of new schoolbooks,
Wide-open on desktops.

The walls full of maps and posters
Strange photographs, alphabet cards, art;
A brave new world to explore,
A wondrous adventure waiting to happen
And new friends to share it with.

The wide-open eyes, filling with images;
New sounds, new tasks, a new order of things.
The crest-fallen look of grim realisation
That you are not alone and not-so-special anymore,
A rose unique and solitary
Suddenly immersed within an endless rose-garden…

The golden afternoon, warm autumn sunshine,
And the walk back home –
A young mind bursting at the seams,
A blessed fatigue of brain and body;
But all to be made good simply, easily, quickly
With a glass of milk and cookies…


  1. your imagery sparks every nostalgic ray, have a nice Wednesday

    much love...

  2. The first day of school always has a special smell wherever we are, doesn't it? I have memories of some first days but not of the very first though. I enjoyed reading about yours.

  3. Oh yes, the classroom does have a special smell at the beginning of the year. All desks are freshly sanitized, and the floor is scuff-free. I like the mention of the realization that one is not so special any more. There are others there...and one's voice has to compete with the voices of everyone else. And yes, milk and cookies are definitely a fitting end to a busy school day.

  4. "A rose unique and solitary / Suddenly immersed within an endless rose-garden…"...there's an element of wonderment here and a new realization dawning..what a beautiful imagery....

  5. The first day evokes such a keen awareness of the senses, and you have expressed so wonderfully, Nicholas!

  6. ah I like me some milk and cookies at the end of the much new and possible at the beginning of school....and I feel that in your words....I like how you engaged all the senses in describing this...

  7. Wonderful painting of the beginning of school. I like the photo too--when little boys wore ties and girls wore dresses!

  8. Charming photo.! Cookies? I don't think so:)

    1. Homemade cookies, Rall, delicious! I can give you mum's recipe :-)

  9. Beautifully evocative and nostalgic, Nicholas! I love the photo!

  10. Loved the crest to trough of emotions... milk and cookies always made for a "happily ever after" ending to a day.

  11. The the wonderful school classroom image to the last word ~~ delightful.

  12. Great poem that recruits the senses of the reader to engage in that first day experience at school.