THE SCHOOLMASTER; VI, The Best Of School.
The blinds are drawn because of the sun,
And the boys and the room in a colourless gloom
Of under-water float: bright ripples run
Across the walls as the blinds are blown
To let the sunlight in; and I,
As I sit on the beach of the class alone,
Watch the boys in their summer blouses,
As they write, their round heads busily bowed:
And one after another rouses
And lifts his face and looks at me,
And my eyes meet his very quietly,
Then he turns again to his work, with glee.
With glee he turns, with a little glad
Ecstasy of work he turns from me,
An ecstacy surely sweet to be had.
And very sweet while the sunlight waves
In the fresh of the morning, it is to be
A teacher of these young boys, my slaves
Only as swallows are slaves to the eaves
They build upon, as mice are slaves
To the man who threshes and sows the sheaves.
Oh, sweet it is
To feel the lads' look light on me,
Then back in a swift, bright flutter to work,
As birds who are stealing turn and flee.
Touch after touch I feel on me
As their eyes glance at me for the grain
Of rigour they taste delightedly.
And all the class,
As tendrils reached out yearningly
Slowly rotate till they touch the tree
That they cleave unto, that they leap along
Up to their lives - so they to me.
So do they cleave and cling to me,
So I lead them up, so do they twine
Me up, caress and clothe with free
Fine foliage this life of mine,
The old hard stem of my life
That bears aloft toward rarer skies
My top of life, that buds on high
Amid the high wind's enterprise.