Winston Plowes


There’s a silence
in the flashbackclassroom,
a reverence for the hatching
of new words.

Today, there is no need
for the teacher to clap hands
or count down from five,
no need to put Nadia on a step.

And the new words splinter off
The empathy block,
And tumble into three white columns
like a game of Tetris
‘leaving / journey / arrival’
and they make destructionpictures
with their hard silent work:

Orange stars falling from the sky
Running faster than your blood
All you could taste was the rubble
Cars spinning from the bombs
Scars on your heart
You fall asleep so smoothly
                   … and never make it.

“Sir, how do you spell perrished?”

Notes – Written after teaching three creative writing classes focusing on the conflict in Ukraine. By blending words together and retaining spelling mistakes I have tried to mimic the pupil’s thought processes and the dynamics of the classroom. Words in italics are taken directly from the pupil’s work.



Winston Plowes shares his floating home in Calderdale UK with his
twenty-year-old cat, *Sausage*. He teaches creative writing in schools,
universities and to local groups while she dreams of Mouseland. His latest
collection, *Tales from the Tachograph* was published jointly with Gaia
Holmes in 2018 by Calder Valley Poetry.