For Sale: Mortar Board. One Gentle Owner.

From grammar school boy
to grammar school master,
his head held languages, four at least.
He outran all as a student sprinter,
played football and hockey,
baked family bread with pure, fresh yeast.

He tended the garden and smoked his pipe,
knew the names of flowers and plants,
solved cryptic clues, and stroked the cats,
laughed at slapstick, wordplay, jokes,
taught us cribbage and whisky poker.
He disliked scarves; wore occasional hats;

Taught me darts, and how to dance,
spoke little unless he had Something to say;
addressed us all without ever speaking our names.
Served his country when needs must
in the RAF when radar was new,
(in wartime, missed out on olympic games);

Helped rebuild German and English trust
with school exchanges.
He wore this mortar board. Now it can go.
(No more Speech Day processions.)
But his was the head that held it.
I thought you should know.

poem © Celia Warren 2012

As I continue to work my way through the detritus of my late parents' home, I came across this mortar board. I didn't know it was going to spark a poem. With thanks to Mr PP for modelling it for me.

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