• harveyvickie


I remember that day back in fifty seven

my first day at school was going to be heaven,

I was really quite young, not quite five years old

I remember it well, it was hot – no wait – cold,

The woman who’d nursed me for nigh on five years

Left me there at the gate, face flowing with tears.

Mum’s face not mine I must hasten to add

I was quite happy while she was quite sad

We would both be apart for most of the day

But I wasn’t bothered, I just wanted to play

In the cloakroom, I hung up my coat and mittens

By the little black sticker where my name was written.

Ran into the playground to make some new friends

But the looks and the stares I could not comprehend

Why were they staring, what was wrong with my face?

My look was immaculate, not a hair out of place

Then a girl approached, she wanted a peek

Rubbed two of her fingers down my left cheek.

The school bell rang out they all rushed for the door

Lined up in silence one hundred or more

A teacher then herded them into a great hall

I was very surprised when I heard someone call-

-out my name, as the others looked around

The headmistress warned them, ‘Don’t make a sound!’.

I was taken by the hand and put on the stage

Then she spoke out like thunder, as though in a rage

‘This is the new boy who’s joining us today,

Yes, I know he is different but I hope and pray,

That you’ll make him feel welcome, help him settle

Make him your friend, keep him in fine fettle.

His parents have travelled a very long way,

So let us make him very welcome today’

I looked around the hall at faces uncaring

Felt very conscious of the skin I was wearing

I knew from the looks and bad comments I had

Life wouldn’t be easy for a West Indies lad.

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