Sensei in Shizuoka
A chorus of onegaishimasu,
from forty-eight mouths, followed
by bows, entreat me to teach.
You inhabit cushion-padded seats.
Wooden, at desks, in plastic-slippered feet.
Your laps have Burberry blankets.
Like an old peoplesí home.
But you are young. At school,
in Japan. Some of you sleep;
tired from afterschool cram school.
Here, there are different rules.
In English class, we visit the past:
listen to seventies songs,
gap-fill as we go along, moving seats-
a kinaesthetic learning technique.
I shuffle about, too tall, in extremely small
slippers, which shoot off down corridors.
In September, thereís earthquake drill.
We fill the sun-fired yard.
But not before removing indoor
slippers. It takes time. We pass a pond.
Itís like a shrine, with carp.
A cockroach scurries past.
Finally, itís mid-afternoon: cleaning time.
A harmonious event which might be
a musical, students happily mop,
and return to class, before a last
thank you and a bow.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Alex
Corrin-Tachibana would be pleased to hear them.