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TELL ME NOT MY CHILD, TO BE MILD

by Ogwiji Ehi-Kowochio

You see this my grey hair?
and the large white patch which
occasionally hides in that cap of mine?
It is the fraction of a teacher’s earthly hell
as migrant white chalk particles like a racist
who can’t bear an extra day in the midst of blacks,
emigrates from the blackness of a blackboard
to be permanent residents on my head
Yet all I hear is: “The teachers’ reward is in heaven
safety tucked away in God’s breast pocket”
So I read and read until my right eye popped from its socket
for I thought if I become a lecturer
I might create for myself an earthly haven
while my ears masticate the classical music
of teachers’ heavenly rewards
from the mouths of people who do not know that
in their pockets, hides a teacher’s salary and awards

Tell me not my child, to be mild
for tomorrow when I lean helplessly on a stick
with my head all bald
they will spew me into the bin of retirement

Child, I do not ask too much if I ask that you sit back
and watch this wrestling match as I strike a match stick
to burn a fraction of your future fights

Please, infuriate not my ears with your quibble and scribble of haste
for we all know that the cake which is in a hurry to leave the oven
is on an irreversible mission to render itself inedible

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