Author Topic: Marching Out  (Read 6749 times)


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Marching Out
« on: May 13, 2019, 12:52:21 PM »
I stumbled across a march on YouTube today, and it unlocked the time machine.


Marching Out

After Infant School assembly,
all lined up in neat rows,
boys on one side, in shorts and shirt,
girls on the other in blouse and skirt,
we were supposed to march out in neat order
the two lines never touching.
No crowding, no jostling,
and "no holding back" if it was raining.

Miss Lovell would wind up the gramophone,
set the needle gently on the wobbly Bakelite,
spinning at a nominal seventy eight RPM,
scratchy music emerging through a silvery horn.

It played just long enough to empty the hall.

She once trusted a boy to wind it,
but never again. 
He discovered it could be over-wound,
making it play faster.

The first minute of Colonel Bogey
raced though like a military quickstep.
The orderly departure, arms swinging,
degenerating into a wild cavalry charge.

Miss Lovell made no attempt to slow it,
or restart it.  She looked surprised,
but there a little smile on her face.
She understood boys,
which made her both good and formidable.

We all loved it, even the girls,
previously prim little misses unleashed,
pipe-stem arms flailing,
charging out like Amazonian Warriors.

On less frenetic occasions we behaved,
as the Junior School Headmaster,
a pompous prick with a sadistic side
would stand and weigh us up like cattle,
choosing the ones who would need 'special attention',
'close watching', and 'extra discipline'
once we came under his authority.
Some people should never be trusted
with growing kids.

I was often singled out, pulled to one side,
lined up with the other miscreants.
My crime?  Failure to march in step.
I never could, even when I tried.

More than sixty years later I still can't.