One Poem by Robert Nisbet


It was built as a Board School in 1873, from locally-quarried stone, and it offered high windows, wooden desks and a decent Victorian ambience

to the thirty-two boys who came there in 1948, as what was then called Standard One.

Most were the sons of mothers who no longer worked for pay, save for the four mothers who were cleaners and one who took needlework classes.

There were two boys with tremendous flair for sport, and at least twenty-five who made a joyful loud parade of every game on their wide playing field;

there was one boy who was maybe a little slow, who frequently wet the bed at night and sometimes wet himself in school;

many who later worked their forty, forty-five years diligently, in the Post Office, on the telephone lines, on the dust cart, in the Inland Revenue and in various small firms;

one who was later jailed for false accounting;

fourteen keen draughts players, two who would soon learn the rules of chess and one with a deep fascination for astronomy, the solar system and the distant planets;

one who was a great-great-grandson of the last man publicly hanged in the locality, after a brutal and reckless murder;

one who subsequently became a Scholar of Jesus College, Oxford, and five who won County Major Scholarships to the University of Wales;

two who found a sly lust, on secret woodland Saturdays, in shoving a bicycle pump up a frog’s rectum and pumping until the animal burst;

one who combed his well-greased hair straight back to cover a bald patch where he’d been scalded in babyhood, and who tried hard to keep out of boisterous games;

one boy who used to gaze at the sweep of countryside beyond the playing field and began a lifetime’s painting by composing, in his head, the most prodigious landscapes;

and the teacher, Davo, who carried a wound from the Battle of Tobruk, which left him limping and in constant low-level pain.


Robert Nisbet is a poet from West Wales whose work is published quite widely in Britain and the USA. One of his poems appears in the anthology Universal Oneness, from Authorspress of New Delhi.

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