Sonnet of the Week: Change of Mind

Poets pinch stories, and always have. This one was told to me by my American friend George. When we first met we were both over fifty, but his memory of this incident came through as clear as if it were yesterday. And for me as a teacher it had an extra charge.

Paul Francis.

She knows it’s what they need, this history play. A special project for her eights and nines, a memory that won’t ever go away. She hands out parts, gets them to learn their lines. Her Daniel Boone’s a gamble: small, withdrawn. He’s flattered, but ambition’s spiced with doubt then overpowered by his classmates’ scorn. Late, after school, he says he’s pulling out. Ready for anger or reproach, her silent tear punches his gut, a slow disabling ache which takes him down, and out, guilty but clear. Can he go back? Erase this huge mistake? He sprints upstairs to hold her, be made whole, cancel his cowardice, reclaim his role.


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